2012-06-08 / Front Page
Prepare for next wave of mailers
Battle for 26th Congressional District seat to cost millions
After several months of a campaign free-for-all, the crowded field running in the 26th Congressional District was cut down in Tuesday’s primary to leave only Tony Strickland and Julia Brownley standing to battle for the U.S. House seat in November.
Strickland, the lone Republican in the race and currently a freshman state senator in the 19th Senate District, maintained an early lead Tuesday night and finished with 44.2 percent—or 37,347 district votes—according to semi-official results from the California Secretary of State’s office, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Brownley, a three-term Assembly member in the 41st Assembly District and one of four Democrats who ran in the primary, received 26.8 percent— or 22,660 votes—on June 5.
Independent candidate Linda Parks, a Ventura County supervisor, followed Brownley with 15,654 votes—18.5 percent— not enough to secure her a place on the November ballot.
“This race is not about me, it’ s about the district,” Strickland said. “We’ve had an incredible turnout tonight. I’m just very proud and humbled that so many people gave up their time to walk door to door with me in the past months because they believe in my message. And that kind of enthusiasm is what’s reflected in our vote tonight.”
Under California’s new election laws, June 5 was marked by the state’s first top-two primary, which allowed the top two votegetters to advance to the November general election regardless of party affiliation.
With no incumbent, the local race has captured national attention, as political pundits have regarded the 26th as a genuine toss-up district.
The independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission redrew district boundaries last year, paving the way for the new, mostly balanced district.
Now including most of Ventura County and Westlake Village in Los Angeles County, the 26th District shows 31 percent registered Democrats and 25 percent registered Republicans.
Nearly 20 percent of the district’s voters are registered as “decline to state,” while another 24 percent are affiliated with parties other than Democrat or Republican.
Before the recent redistricting, Ventura County remained a GOP stronghold for 13 terms under U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly’s former 24th District.
Gallegly, whose hometown of Simi Valley now sits in the neighboring 25th District, announced his retirement in January.
Up until the primary, Brownley, who joined the race in March, had to share her party’s support with three other Democrats: Albert Goldberg, a real estate agent from Ventura; Jess Herrera, Oxnard Harbor District commissioner; and David Cruz Thayne, a businessman from Westlake Village.
Herrera captured 6.4 percent of the vote on Tuesday, while Thayne and Goldberg trailed with 2.4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
“It’s been a challenging race, without question,” Brownley said Tuesday night. “But . . . I ran on the issues I felt were important, and I think we’ve put together a good campaign.”
The assembly member told the Acorn she doesn’t plan to shape her campaign any differently from this point on.
“My focus will continue to be to get the economic engine back on all cylinders and to get people back to work,” she said. “And I will continue to work on the issues around education, healthcare, certainly protecting Social Security and Medicare.”
Strickland, whose campaign platform focuses on creating jobs and maintaining the U.S. military, said his win on Tuesday is “just the beginning of the conversation.”
“There isn’t a single part of this district I haven’t represented,” the state senator said. “The message is clear. The people in Ventura County want a strong voice in Washington to understand the problems and needs of the county.”