After going neck and neck all night in a rerun of their virtual dead heat in the June primary, GOP challenger David Hadley pulled out to a narrow win early Wednesday over Democratic incumbent Al Muratsuchi in the closely watched 66th Assembly District race.
This victory would narrow considerably in the next three weeks, but Hadley ultimately win the 66th Assembly District by 706 votes.
After all precincts reported, Hadley held onto a slim 2,329-vote lead, allowing him to claim 51.4 percent of the vote to 48.6 percent for Muratsuchi in the district of 265,715 registered voters. The pivotal race not only establishes a Republican beachhead in the South Bay but also may serve to deny Democrats a supermajority in the Assembly.
To this day, the Manhattan Beach resident-turned-elected official points out that he is the only Republican elected official who resides entirely in Los Angeles County.
Only 73 votes separated the two candidates in June out of more than 47,000 ballots cast.
With so much at stake in a district where Democratic registration outpaces that of the GOP by just over 5 percentage points, the contest had spawned vitriolic rhetoric backed by big bucks that funded an onslaught of negative mailers and some television commercials. Berkshire Hathaway billionaire Charlie Munger spent almost $500,000 supporting Hadley in just five days in late October, Muratsuchi’s campaign noted.
The June primary ended with Hadley ahead by 500 votes, much more than 73. How the reporter could get this fact wrong just escapes me.
As for the details about Charles Munger. . . the report is way off. First of all, the physicist son of Charlie Munger, Charles Munger Jr., has contributed considerable funding through an independent expenditures to a number of Republican campaigns. Once again, the son is not a billionaire, and has no direct connections to the Berkshire Hathaway firm.
Election Day dawned with Democrats holding just one seat above the two-thirds mark in the Senate, a supermajority that allows the party to place measures on the ballot and take other procedural steps without consulting Republicans.
Republicans gained four seats in the state assembly, one more than needed, because of Catharine Baker's victory in East Bay.
But with deep-pocketed Republicans targeting the race, it was expected to go down to the wire, especially if voter turnout hits a record low as projected.
Granted, a low voter-turnout aided Hadley considerably. The double-standard on Republicans and "deep-pocketed' interests is unfair. Democrats rely on their own bevy of millionaires and billlionaires, along with wealthy activist groups like labor unions.
A low turnout, in large part because Gov. Jerry Brown did not face a credible challenge, was expected to benefit Hadley in the purple district that leans Democratic, political consultants said.
It was no coincidence Brown had visited Torrance last week to give Muratsuchi’s campaign a boost , while GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari performed the same favor for Hadley.
For the record, Brown mispronounced Muratsuchi's last name, and Easy Reader News called the mistake funny. Strangely, though, Brown once confused Torrance with Orange County.
Hadley, 49, the owner of an El Segundo investment banking firm, had painted his opponent as a liberal extremist largely funded by special interest groups. The Republican Party organizer has seen the district as offering the best opportunity for the GOP to break the Democrat’s stranglehold on the South Bay.
Al Muratsuchi was very much a left-wing puppet, from dominance under public sector unions, to environmental activism. He vote to allow boys to go into girls' bathrooms
He attempted to position himself as a champion for improving the state’s much-criticized business climate. Hadley contended Democrats deserved little credit for improving the state’s infamously volatile financial condition given the uptick in the national economy.
Hadley did much more than "attempt." He accomplished the task, winning the seat.
Muratsuchi, a 49-year-old former prosecutor, had attempted to capitalize on the improving state economy and stronger fiscal condition of the government to convince voters to return him for a second term, saying his second two years would be much like his first.
Would Nick Green like to explain what evidence he used to justify the argument that California's economy had been improving? A record number of Americans are out of work or struggling in part-time jobs to make ends meet. I
The 66th Assembly District takes in coastal areas of the South Bay from Manhattan Beach to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and also includes Carson and Gardena to the east.
Once again, it is a great honor to have a Republican representing me in the state legislature for the first time in my adult life.
Congratulations, Assemblyman Hadley, on your surprising and wonderful victory, your ongoing achievements in Sacramento and the South Bay, and your intended and likely win in 2016.