John Perez Wins A Battle Against Torie Osborn, But Loses The War For 2/3rds

With 100% of precincts reporting, the race for the 50th Assembly District ended with an upset, with community organizer Torie Osborn ending up in third place, and the Democratic Mayor of Santa Monica, Richard Bloom and Democratic Assemblywoman Betsy Butler surviving the June primary – only to face each other again in November.

Butler squeaked into first place by only 102 votes.

Her boss, Assembly Speaker John Perez, spent over a million dollars to get Butler those votes. But while he was busy waging a war against Torie Osborn in AD50, he lost the war for AD66, and ultimately the 2/3rds majority Democrats desperately needed to break Republican obstruction in Sacramento.

Let me explain.

The Democratic candidate in AD66, Al Muratsuchi, came in first against his Republican opponents and will face off against millionaire Republican Craig Huey in the fall. But while good news for Democrats in the short-run, the numbers look dismal for Muratsuchi in November.

With 100% of precincts reporting,Muratsuchi garnered 22,000 votes while his Republican opponents Huey and Nathan Mintz combined received nearly 33,000 votes. Mintz will certainly endorse Huey, so expect Republican voters to fall in line for the general election.

That’s a hell of an enthusiasm gap to overcome.

Muratsuchi received virturally no support from Sacramento even as Perez publicly  declared the Santa Monica/West Hollywood race his top priority, securing the California Democratic Party endorsement for Butler at the February convention, then directing or pressuring Assembly members, Sacramento unions, and PACS to dump over a million dollars into the safe blue seat.

What that means in real-world terms is that while Sacramento squandered it’s resources in AD50, there was nothing left over to help South Bay activists register voters or build any infrastructure to get out the vote. It’s a deficit that, even if corrected now, will haunt the district through the fall.

What remains to be seen is if Perez will bother to correct that deficit at all. In fact, it’s far more likely he will continue this destructive pattern into the general election.

Victory in November isn’t assured for Butler. By all accounts, she proved to be a terrible campaigner in the AD50 race, relying almost entirely on Sacramento’s largess to get her through the June primary. It’s anyone’s guess as to how she will do against Bloom, who has the advantage of real – not manufactured – incumbency in the district.

As Sacramento contemplates even more draconian cuts to education, healthcare, social services and environmental protection, the legacy of these two races will be a stunning indictment of Assembly Speaker John Perez’s lack of leadership.  

6 thoughts on “John Perez Wins A Battle Against Torie Osborn, But Loses The War For 2/3rds”

  1. and I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the teaparty turnout at yesterday’s primary. I’m very happy that Al was the top vote getter yesterday, but the plan was for Huey and Mintz to split the vote all along. The fact that Mintz almost beat Betsy Butler, yet fared so poorly this time out shows just how lousy a campaigner she really is. She has spent the past year neglecting the 53rd AD to run an equally detached campaign in the 50th. The Speaker needs to get the message real quick! This is no joke! Muratsuchi would fight for kids, education, workers, and the environment. Huey won’t even interview with teachers and does not support finding revenue sources for the state. He believes in austerity measures at the most austere of times. Huey nearly won against Janice Hahn last year, the same Hahn that handily defeated Laura Richardson in primary for the 44th CD. Huey has deep pockets and Al needs all the support and GOTV efforts the democratic party can offer if he is to compete.

  2.     from top to bottom that it is not entirely clear who will be in the top two. There are usually a lot of election day absentee ballots which take a while to count. Remember that in 2010 Steve Cooley was ahead in the AG race on election night but it is Kamala Harris who is now the Attorney General.

       I don’t count that one as a done deal, nor do I assume the numbers in my district, AD-46, are final. My candidate, Adrin Nazarian, will stay in forst place but second could either go to Brian Johnson, the megabucks charter schools pusher, or to a GOP candidate who was not far behind. There are several close races around the state and I will wait for certified results before feeling like I know who won or lost.

  3. No question that Perez played the role of “boss” in the primary race for the 50th, but the above piece is merely speculating about what will happen between now and November, even assuming the current count holds.  Neither Perez nor anyone else who believes in the D wants to see Craig Huey triumph in any election, ever.  I hope and expect that that will translate into meaningful support for Muratsuchi.

  4.  Al Muratsuchi recieved 40% of the vote with no other Democrat seeking the nomination. His candidacy is not at risk and is clearly viable and credible in this swing district.

    The fact Craig Huey beat Nathan Mintz who was the nominee two years ago is actually a good sign for Democrats since Mintz was very competitive with Butler while Huey was embarrassed by Janice Hahn for US Congress.

    The better candidate was undoubtedly Mintz!

    If we use the logic of the author, then longtime incumbent Congressman Henry Waxman must also be in as much trouble as Mr. Muratsuchi!

    Waxman, a Washington fixture for decades received just 43,768 in the Primary while opponents Bill Bloomfield (23,671) Chris Davis (14,265) combined for 37,936 votes against the liberal Democrat. The fact Waxman was kept under 50% diminish the fact he’ll probably receive well over 65% of the vote come the Fall?

    John Perez is not the “boss” over any member. He leads the lower house in the legislature as well as the majority caucus, of which either Butler or Bloom will become a member. Attacking the highest ranking Democrat in the lower house because he has a preference in a primary is just foolish.

    Sensible Democrats will look to the process and structure of these open primaries as denying both Democrats and Republicans the right to nominate their own candidates. Something that I believe would not holdup to constitutional scrutiny if Democrats took their case to the courts to end a process that currently does more harm than good.  

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