Hat Tip CQ Politics
State Rep. Laura Richardson and state Sen. Jenny Oropeza, both Democrats, jumped out way ahead of the rest of the 17-candidate field in early results from Tuesday’s special election in California’s 37th Congressional District.
Richardson and Oropeza had been regarded as the front-running candidates throughout the special election campaign to succeed the late Democratic Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, who died of cancer April 22.
The early count — posted by Los Angeles County election authorities shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) — included only ballots cast by absentee voters and those participating under California’s early voting rules.
But barring dramatically different results from votes cast at the polls Tuesday, the winner of the battle between Richardson and Oropeza will claim the Democratic nomination — and almost certain victory in the likely Aug. 21 runoff for the seat.
Tuesday’s primary had all 11 Democrats, four Republicans and two alternative-party candidates running on a single ballot, and that crowd of candidates made it unlikely that no single one would garner the majority vote needed to win outright and avoid a runoff.
But the runoff would be a contest between each party’s top vote-getter — and the 37th District, dominated by the city of Long Beach, is a Democratic Party stronghold in which Hispanics and African-Americans make up most of the population.
The advantage that the Democratic nominee will have was signaled by the early returns. Richardson led with 33 percent to 30 percent for Oropeza and 11 percent for the late congresswoman’s daughter, Valerie McDonald. The leading Republican candidate in the early voting, police sergeant and Iraq war veteran John M. Kanaley, had 10 percent of the vote.
The contest between Richardson, who is black, and Oropeza, who is Hispanic, had strong ethnic overtones. Hispanics make up more than 40 percent of the district’s population, but they make up a smaller share of the voting electorate. Blacks make up a quarter of the population, and many black activists have cited Millender-McDonald, an African-American, in calling for continued black representation in the district.
LAURA RICHARDSON DEM 11,027 37.76
JENNY OROPEZA DEM 9,144 31.31
VALERIE MC DONALD DEM 2,743 9.39
JOHN M KANALEY REP 2,230 7.64
PETER MATHEWS DEM 1,031 3.53
TERI RAMIREZ REP 560 1.92
DANIEL A BREZENOFF GR 352 1.21
JEFFREY LEAVITT REP 345 1.18
L J “LJ” GUILLORY REP 334 1.14
ED WILSON DEM 334 1.14
HERB PETERS LIB 315 1.08
GEORGE A PARMER JR DEM 220 0.75
LEE DAVIS DEM 181 0.62
JEFFREY S PRICE DEM 128 0.44
BILL F GRISOLIA DEM 125 0.43
FELICIA FORD DEM 109 0.37
MERVIN EVANS DEM 26 0.09
TOTAL PRECINCTS 334 PRECINCTS REPORTING 334 100.00