Update: At final count, Bocanegra raked in 9,201 votes and Alarcon only 6,818.
Update: As of 1:15 a.m., with 73 percent of precincts reporting, Bocanegra holds his lead even more firmly than before.
This has to hurt.
Current L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon, the career San Fernando Valley politician who won his last five elections (spanning two decades) with his eyes closed, is getting laid out by his former aide in tonight's primaries.
Although only 28 percent of precincts have been counted as of this posting, Alarcon rival and CSU Northridge professor Raul Bocanegra is leading the silver medalist by an Earth-shattering 11 percent:
Granted, Bocanegra's camp campaigned hard the last few months, driving Alarcon's felony fraud charges into voters' brains with their picket sticks and out-fundraising the current councilman $329,000 to $202,000. Alarcon, meanwhile, has likely been saving the big guns for the real race between now and November.
That's not to say the councilman and his foot army haven't put some sweat into the campaign so far. Case in point, via political consultant Brian VanRiper:
— Brian VanRiper (@brianvanriper) May 1, 2012
Alarcon didn't hold back on the mud-slinging, either. Amid the election-fraud hubbub, he somewhat ironically tried to turn the tables and picket outside Bocanegra's home, accusing his opponent of insider trading. Then there were the sexual-harassment claims against Bocanegra that Alarcon's people drummed up in the eleventh hour.
But L.A. County voters, who turned out in numbers much higher than predicted this Election Day, have spoken.
They don't want the same old comfy, wilting pol who's been jumping from office to office since he learned how to hold a mic -- and is now slumbering in his City Council chair while he and his wife face 24 felony charges of perjury and voter fraud for allegedly living outside his district.
Anonymous Alarcon-haters (who ever could they be?) weren't shy about blasting those charges all over the Internet.
Poor guy. He's got a classic politician's face, complete with slimy pencil moustache. And ever since the whole "where do you REALLY live?" scandal crashed down on him two years ago, he's aged in light years. Compare this photo from his campaign website to one that ran in the Los Angeles Times about a month ago, right when the D.A. reintroduced his charges:
The people apparently want a fresh, friendly dude like Bocanegra. He doesn't operate entirely outside the L.A. political bubble, but at least we know he's got the professor's brains to properly wade through a city budget. (Urban planning! What a concept!)
And those dimples can't hurt.
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A state race like this -- in which two Democrats and former cohorts go head-to-head in a district that would normally just usher in the Party's unanimous pick -- is a glorious product of the new citizen-drawn California voting districts and runoff voting system.
Donkey-on-donkey drama, at last! Sorry, Alarcon -- you're not the only liberal Latino in town anymore.
We'll update with the final election results as soon as they're in.