From: Kim Alexander
Date: January 14, 1998
Subject: Yesterday's special elections in California

Hi Folks:

Yesterday two special elections were held in California -- one in the the
22nd Congressional District, and another in the 46th Assembly District.
The edition of CVF-NEWS features a rundown on the election results (which,
I've been informed, will be available on the Secretary of State's web site
at a later date), voter turnout, and info about California's new open
primary law.

* * * 22nd Congressional District * * *

This special election was held to fill a vacancy due to the very
unfortunate and untimely death of Walter Capps (who, by the way, was once
an instructor of mine at UC Santa Barbara. This congressional district
also happens to be where I "cut my teeth" in politics and where I worked
on my first political campaign.)

The special election drew a total of six candidates: Walter Capps' widow,
Democrat Lois Capps; Republican Assembly members Tom Bordonaro and Brooks
Firestone; plus another Republican and two Libertarian candidates. The
real competition in this race was between Capps, Firestone and Bordonaro.
Here are the results from yesterday's voting:

Tom Bordonaro

Lois Capps

Brooks Firestone










Since no candidate received a majority of votes cast, the two top
vote-getters -- in this case, Capps and Bordonaro -- will now face each
other in a run-off election, to be held on March 10th.

The 22nd Congressional District includes parts of San Luis Obispo and
Santa Barbara counties, and probably the biggest and most pleasant
surprise about yesterday's special election is the relatively high level
of voter participation. Turnout is typically very weak in California's
special elections- between 15 and 25 percent - but a total of 138,432
votes were cast yesterday in the 22nd congressional district, resulting in
a 42 percent turnout of registered voters. (The number actually will
increase once all the remaining 13,000+ absentee ballots are counted.)

* * * 46th Assembly District * * *

Yesterday's special election in the 46th Assembly District was actually a
run-off resulting from a prior special election where no candidate
received a majority of votes. The top vote-getters in each party advanced
to the run-off, and Democrat Gil Cedillo won the election yesterday by a
very comfortable margin. Below is the breakdown of the returns:

Gil Cedillo

Andrew Kim

Patrick Westerberg










Turnout in the 46th Assembly District was abysmally low, with only 15
percent of that district's eligible voters turnout out to vote yesterday.
The 46th AD is located in Los Angeles County, and this seat became vacant
when its elected representative, Louis Caldera, resigned his position to
accept a job with the Clinton Administration.

* * * Special elections & California's open primary law * * *

Yesterday's special elections were two of the first elections held in
California since voters here passed Proposition 198, a new law that
implements an open, or "blanket" primary law, allowing voters of
any party to vote for any candidate in the primary regardless of party
affiliation. However, the fact is that special elections in California
have always been run in the "open primary" manner, so we really didn't
learn anything new yesterday about what we can expect from California's
new primary system. We'll have to wait until June 2 to witness the true
impact of this new law, when California voters will vote in the open
primary system for a new Governor, U.S. Senator, seven other statewide
officers, 100 legislators and 52 members of Congress.

Kim Alexander, Executive Director, California Voter Foundation


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this page authored by Kim Alexander,

first published 1/14/98

last updated 1/15/98

© 1998, California Voter Foundation