Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom claims victory in close Assembly race

Richard Bloom Betsy Butler

Richard Bloom campaign/Betsy Butler campaign

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom claims victory over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in the close 50th Assembly District race.

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom has declared himself the victor over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in the race to represent a Westside district in the state Assembly more than three weeks after the polls closed.

Butler was out of state and had not yet made a public statement about the race or its outcome, said her spokesman Andrew DeBlock. Her campaign consultant Parke Skelton told the Los Angeles Times that it appears she has lost the race.

Bloom could not be reached immediately for comment.

More than 75,000 ballots from precincts across Los Angeles County remained to be processed and counted after Wednesday's latest resuts showed Bloom leading by 1,246 votes. The county Registrar-Recorder's office plans to finish counting those ballots Friday afternoon, with a final count set for Sunday, if necessary, to meet the state's Dec. 4 deadline to turn in results.

Residents of the district had to wait weeks to know the outcome of the race primarily because nearly 793,000 ballots could not be counted the night of the election.

Those were mail-in ballots dropped off at polling places or mailed in, but not processed in time to be counted that night. They also included provisional ballots cast at polling places by voters whose registrations needed to be verified.

The race pitting the two Democrats in the general election was a close one, with Bloom remaining ahead in the count at each of six updates. His lead narrowed at one point to a mere 79 votes. The latest update gave Bloom the widest lead he's had since the night of the election.

Bloom posted victory notes on Twitter and in a message on his campaign website, stating he expected to take the oath of office on Monday. In contrast, Butler hasn't posted to her campaign Twitter account since Election Day.

Butler was an incumbent representing the old 53rd Assembly District, representing the South Bay beach cities from Torrance north to Marina del Rey, so she was running in new territory that some had described as the wealthiest district in the state. The new 50th District takes in Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Agoura Hills.

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