Betsy Butler Narrows Richard Bloom’s Lead In 50th Assembly Race To 79 Votes

Wednesday, 21 Nov 2012, 1:43:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

Richard Bloom holds a narrow victory over Betsy Butler after 100 percent of precincts were counted as part of the Nov. 6 election.
Courtesy Photos
Richard Bloom holds a narrow victory over Betsy Butler after 100 percent of precincts were counted as part of the Nov. 6 election.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s office will not certify the final results of the Nov. 6 election until Dec. 4. In the days between now and then, a pair of Democrats will be keeping a close eye on updated tallies of the 50th Assembly District. According to the most recent numbers released Nov. 21, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom holds a slim 79-vote lead over incumbent Assembly member Betsy Butler.

With more than 170,000 votes already counted, Bloom’s tally of 85,508 (50.02 percent) is slightly more than Butler’s 85,429 (49.98 percent).

All 299 precincts in the 50th District have officially reported to the Registrar-Recorder’s office, but not all the votes have been counted yet; officials are still progressing through the approximately 216,000 absentee, drop-off, mail-in, or provisional votes.

The latest results have been the closest reported to date. Bloom had an edge of 218 votes on Nov. 6. That lead expanded to 291 votes 10 days later before shrinking to 79 earlier this week.

Another update is expected after Thanksgiving.

At the June 5 primary, Butler edged Bloom with 25.77 percent of the vote (16,084 votes) to his 25.55 percent of the vote (15,947 votes).

Butler, who was a slight favorite to win in some circles, reportedly outspent Bloom in campaign funds by almost a 2-to-1 margin.

Before the certified results are announced, Bloom will be sitting in the Mayor’s chair for the last time Nov. 27. The transition to the new council, which includes two newcomers, will coincidentally take place Dec. 4 – the same day the election results are certified.

Bloom has served on the Santa Monica City Council since 1999, including three stints as mayor. During his 13-year tenure on the dais, Bloom has promoted policies affecting sustainability, the environment, public transit, affordable housing, and various health issues such the City’s recent smoking ban.

Butler previously represented the 53rd Assembly District, an office she assumed in 2010. With district lines redrawn in 2011, Butler, who lives in Beverly Hills, ran for reelection in the new 50th District.

Neither side has declared victory or conceded defeat.

A recount would be possible and may be requested by the candidates or voters. However, the requesting party may be held responsible for the costs involved with a recount. The cost varies from a few thousand dollars to six digits depending on number of people involved and time spent as part of the recount.

A new district, the 50th Assembly represents Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Malibu, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Topanga, West Hollywood, and Westlake Village. In all, there are 80 assembly districts in California.

There are six races in California (including the 50th Assembly) that are still considered “close,” including one Congressional seat in San Diego County, one State Senate seat in the Sacramento area, and four Assembly seats in Alameda, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties.

A “close contest” is a race where the top two candidates are separated by less than two percentage points.

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