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California Assembly District 50 Campaign: Will Gay Voters Choose Betsy Butler or Richard Bloom?

For the L.A. Weekly story "Will Betsy Butler's Sex Pervert Vote Kill Her Political Career?" we talked with longtime political analyst Jamie Regalado, who thought state Assemblywoman Betsy Butler had another major problem on her hands: The gay vote may go to rival Richard Bloom in the contentious Assembly District 50 race.

"They are totally turned off by her," says Regalado, "and they are throwing their support behind Richard."

During the primary, Butler and gay rights activist Torie Osborn had fought mightily, and Regalado believes that may come back to haunt the assemblywoman.

You see, Osborn, a lesbian and former boss of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, had solid backing from Westside gays and lesbians during the primary. Her supporters, says Regalado, regularly clashed with the Butler campaign, with Bloom staying out of the fray.

Bloom then outpaced Osborn and placed a close second behind Butler. Since he didn't piss off the gays, Regalado's logic goes, they're much more comfortable voting for Bloom, a Democrat and Santa Monica mayor, than Butler in the runoff.

"Bloom doesn't have a large swath of people who are against him," says Regalado, "but Betsy does."

Bloom supporter and former West Hollywood City Councilman Steve Martin, who's gay, says that's true.

"The whole Betsy Butler thing has been so heavy-headed," he says.

Martin complains that Democratic bosses L.A. County Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman and Assembly Speaker John Perez, who are both openly gay, alienated many politically connected gays by pushing Butler, who's not gay, so hard during the primary endorsement process -- and opposing lesbian and longtime community activist Torie Osborn.

Now those folks are pushing back, says Martin.

Yet West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran, who's gay, says Butler has been a good friend of the gays over the years. Butler served on the board of the gay rights group Equality California.

Duran thinks the type of thing that Martin complains about doesn't matter among non-political insider gays and lesbians.

"Unless you're an insider," says Duran, "how many people are following the Butler/Osborn/Bloom debate? Not many."

Duran adds, "Steve Martin is trying to create controversy because that's what he does."

Whether that's true or not, Regalado says Butler still has a gay problem.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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