Election 2012: Chu Cruises, Napolitano Faces Tough Reelection Fight

Plus recaps of every local race for the 2012 primary vote.

The first hurdle in the 2012 Election is over for hopeful candidates statewide: with the primary election officially done, the field for most state and congressional districts has narrowed considerably.

With five districts and 14 different candidates, this edge of the San Gabriel Valley had a convoluted primary to say the least. With that in mind, here's the nearly final results from each district in the area, and what to expect for each candidate come the November general election. 

State Assembly District 41

As the precinct numbers rolled in last night and this morning, Democrat Chris Holden pulled away from the rest of the pack in this tight primary race. Holden ended the night with 29.6 percent of the vote, while Republican Donna Lowe took 23.2 percent.

The 41st District was one of the closest races in the area: five candidates ran to get on the ballot in November, and besides Holden's nearly 4,000 vote lead every other candidate in the race fell within 2,000 votes of his or her closest competitor. 

Republican Ed Colton was a close third, taking 17.8 percent of the vote. The campaigns for Democratic candidates Michael Cacciotti and Victoria Rusnak are almost certainly over: they took 15.6 and 13.8 percent of the vote, respectively.

Again, no official winner has been declared in this contest, but Holden will likely hold on to his six point lead. 

In addition to this primary win, Holden's campaign likely has the most to look forward to come November: with two other Democratic candidates splitting the vote Tuesday night, the candidate managed to cruise to a relatively easy victory despite losing out on nearly 17,000 votes that went to Cacciotti and Rusnak. That's compared to the 10,211 Republican votes that went to Lowe's only other GOP rival in the primary race.

Lowe says that her campaign is focused on reaching "apathetic voters" in the district who did not vote in the primary. She also believes her singular focus on the economy, as well as the unsuccessful recall of Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, will win over voters affected by the recession

"We have a lot of hard work ahead of us," Lowe said in a phone interview. "The apathy rate was pathetic. I think what's going to happen in November is that your fiscal conservatives will see what happens in Wisconsin and want to replicate that here."

"The reality is people, no matter if they're Democrat or Republican, are receptive to fiscal responsibility," Lowe said. "I think that people are ready to set the message that the government cannot create jobs."

The Holden campaign did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

State Assembly District 48

What looks like a win for the Republican candidate in the 48th District might be one of the biggest upsets in the 2012 California Primary vote.

Though no official winner has been declared, Joe Gardner appears to have eked out a win, edging incumbent Democrat Roger Hernandez, 45.6 percent to 43.4 percent. Fewer than 700 votes separated the two candidates.

Gardner records this early win despite the district having a staunch Democratic base: more than 46 percent of the registered voters in the area are registered as Democrats, while just 28 percent are registered Republican.

Garnder said he was "humbled" by the results of the vote and that the win "significantly" energized his campaign.

"I think we have to stay in touch with the residents and the people that work in this district," Gardner said in a phone interview. "I think what was useful for us was really talking to people. I did my own informal surveys with people in my precinct walks and my talks with chambers of commerce folks."

However, when the stakes are higher for the general election, expect Assemblyman Hernandez' campaign to put a greater emphasis on getting out the vote for the November ballot.

State Senate District 25

Incumbent Democrat Carol Liu won handily in new 25th District, taking 51.7 percent of the vote compared to Republican Gil Gonzalez' 42.9 percent.

Liu has represented areas around Pasadena since 2000, and the new district she's running for has 41 percent of its voters registered as Democrats. With these advantages, Liu's reelection should be a relatively easy one for her campaign.

However, Gonzalez has staked his campaign as a moderate Republican dedicated to environmental and education issues. His campaign has even supported pension reform efforts by Gov. Jerry Brown.

And despite the 25th District having just a third of its voters registered as Republicans, Gonzalez still took 42 percent of the vote. Expect this race to be much closer as the November deadline approaches.

Fred Register, a spokesman for the Liu campaign, said the senator was pleased with the results of the vote in light of the differences from past primaries.

"It was a little unusual for her as an incumbent to have a Democratic opponent," Register said.

Democrat Ameenah Fuller was the third candidate in the primary race. She took just 5.4 percent of the vote.

Register also said the Liu campaign was not concerned that its Republican opponent was running a more moderate campaign, saying that Sen. Liu "has a long record of appealing to voters from both parties."

U.S. House District 27 

The race for the 27th District was one of the least contested in the region. Rep Judy Chu of the former 32nd District took in almost 24,000 more votes than her closest Republican competitor, Jack Orswell.

However, despite taking almost 60 percent of the vote, Chu's campaign to be reelected will be much more closely contested than the primary vote suggests.

Orswell's number likely would have been much higher had his GOP rival Bob Duran not taken nearly 13,000 votes from him. With Duran now most likely out of the race, expect Orswell's share of fundraising to expand significantly, and his share of the vote to do likewise.

U.S House District 32

Rep. Grace Napolitano might have a tough reelection fight on her hands after she took just 46 percent of the vote compared to Republican newcomer David Miller's 41 percent.

Miller was outspent and out-fundraised by Napolitano by a nearly 7-to-1 ratio but came within 2,000 votes of the representative.

However, Napolitano's Democratic base was also split somewhat, with Democrat Bill Gonzalez likely taking 5,000 of the votes that would normally have gone to the incumbent.

Still, Napolitano may face a tougher reelection fight on the November ballot than previously expected.

Update, 1:08 p.m.: Comments from State Senator Carol Liu's campaign were added to the article. 


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