Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dismal turnout for runoff elections

My California correspondant weighs in with the following:

SENATE ELECTION: Norma Torres beats Paul Leon for Inland seat



May 14, 2013; 08:26 PM |

SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Norma Torres defeated Ontario Mayor Paul Leon in Tuesday’s special election to fill a vacancy in the state Senate seat that extends from Pomona to San Bernardino. In another vote with anemic turnout, Torres, D-Pomona, opened a significant lead over Leon, a Republican, shortly after polls closed. With all precincts reporting, she had 59.4 percent of the vote to Leon’s 40.6 percent.

Torres will serve out the almost 19 months remaining on the term of former state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod. The Chino Democrat resigned her 32nd Senate District seat in January to go to Congress. Torres will run for re-election in the redrawn 20th Senate District. That seat is similar to the 32nd, but includes Chino and excludes all but about one-third of San Bernardino.

Torres and Leon were the top finishers in a six-candidate special primary election in March. The Pomona Democrat was the strong favorite leading up to the special election in the 32nd, where Democrats have a 23-percentage point advantage and historically have won handily. Besides the district’s strong Democratic leanings, Torres outraised Leon by more than two-to-one. She also benefited from more than $472,000 in spending by independent groups since January.

Torres, who was a bilingual emergency dispatcher before her election to the Assembly in 2008, received 44 percent of the vote in March. She won all but one of the precincts in the 32nd’s Pomona portion and two-thirds of the precincts in the district’s San Bernardino County portion. Leon is a longtime local elected official and received 26.4 percent of the votes in March. He received the most votes in about a quarter of the district’s precincts.

A little more than 9 percent of voters participated in the March 12 special primary election. Torres topped four Democrats, including San Bernardino Auditor-Controller Larry Walker, who finished a distant third behind Leon.

As of late Tuesday evening, turnout stood at about 9.7 percent.

Torres’ win means Democrats will have 28 seats in the Senate upon her swearing-in, one shy of what they held in December but one more than the two-thirds majority needed to pass tax measures, place initiatives on the ballot, and take other actions without Republican votes. There is another Senate special election next week. There likely will be another vacancy soon, though, with state Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, the favorite to win next week’s runoff for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council.

The election is good news for Torres but it means San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties will have to pay for at least one, and possibly two, more special elections to fill her Assembly seat. The Democratic-leaning 52nd Assembly District includes Pomona, Ontario and Chino.


In case you forgot or this is the first time you're learning of this click here and it will make sense. Under 10% turnout. That says something.

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