The vote count has taken forever in the closely contested Assembly District 50 race, but on Wednesday night Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom declared victory over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler. After the latest count by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, Bloom leads by 1,246 votes.
"Our calculation is that the lead is too big to overcome," Bloom tells L.A. Weekly, noting that his victory is a "pretty safe assumption."
Bloom ran an underdog campaign during the primary and run-off, raising much less money than Butler in both races and without the backing of the California State Democratic Party.
Bloom, who describes himself as a "loyal" but "independent-minded" Democrat, says his campaign focused on grassroots organizing outside of his Santa Monica base, particularly in the Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood. He also reached out to the Jewish community.
Butler had a strong showing in West Hollywood, but Bloom's ground game clearly paid off, especially since Butler didn't appear to make the same effort.
"We thought we were going to see more of a field operation from the Butler campaign," says Bloom, "but we didn't see that, and that was surprising."
In addition to effectively pounding the pavement, Bloom thought Butler's controversial non-vote on a sex-pervert bill, which was first exposed by the Weekly and later picked up by CNN's Anderson Cooper, was a "significant factor" in his victory. Bloom said he would have voted in favor of the bill.
Bloom was told that the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder will certify the victory on Friday. Once it's official, he wants to sit down with Butler. "There's a lot I could learn from her," says Bloom. "She's been in the assembly for two years."
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.