There weren't too many surprises in L.A. County legislative races. But there is an upset brewing in the 59th Assembly District, where Minuteman/Tea Party candidate Tim Donnelly is beating establishment Republican Chris Lancaster by a mere 40 votes.

Donnelly, seen here with immigrant-busting Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is running to replace Anthony Adams in a district that stretches from the San Gabriel Valley to the High Desert. Adams was hounded out of office after voting last year for temporary tax increases.

Donnelly spent less than $24,000 on the race, which seems to have all gone into these giant yellow road signs. Lancaster spent $167,000, and had all kinds of endorsements, including that of Inland Republican power broker Jim Brulte. And yet, with about 1,000 votes uncounted, Donnelly is leading Lancaster by a count of 9,659 votes (29.1%) to 9,619 (29.0%).

Donnelly, who lives in Twin Peaks, is a former leader of the Minuteman movement. He credits his strong showing to Tea Party activists.

Donnelly's most detailed policy proposal is a prisoner exchange with Mexico, whereby California would ship its illegal immigrant prisoners to Mexico in exchange for U.S. citizens serving time there. Somehow this ends up saving us money.

This race is a bright spot for immigration restrictionists in California. Elsewhere, Arpaio-endorsed candidates went down in flames. Of course, there was Steve Poizner. But there were also two Sheriff candidates in San Diego and Orange counties, neither of whom were able to force the establishment-backed incumbents into a runoff.

LA Weekly