Capitol Alert

Bocanegra, Muratsuchi lose California Assembly races

Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

Los Angeles County voters have unseated two Democrats seeking re-election to the state Assembly, according to final results from the county registrar’s office.

The final tally has the two incumbents losing by fewer than 1,000 votes apiece. Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, lost by 706 votes to Republican challenger David Hadley. And in a widely dissected upset, newcomer Patty Lopez held on to defeat Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Los Angeles. A Democrat, Lopez edged out Bocanegra by 467 votes.

Bocanegra conceded shortly after Los Angeles County released the finalized results, saying he would not seek a vote recount.

“It is clear that my opponent will be victorious by the narrowest of margins,” Bocanegra said in an emailed statement. “Although many residents and community leaders throughout the 39th Assembly District have urged me to undertake a recount, I do not want to put the state – and particularly the residents of the Northeast San Fernando Valley – through such a costly and time-consuming process.”

A third Democrat narrowly held on to his seat. Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, repelled Republican challenger Rita Topalian with a final winning margin of 1,887 votes. Democrats have a nearly two-to-one registration advantage in the 57th Assembly District but Calderon ran under the cloud of a federal ethics investigation that has ensnared two of his uncles, both current or former legislators. Ian Calderon has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The loss of Muratsuchi’s seat was one of several setbacks that cost Democrats their two-thirds majority for the upcoming legislative session. A “supermajority” would allow Democrats to act without Republican votes to pass tax increases, place measures on the ballot or have legislation take effect immediately. Democrats will start the new session with a 52-28 majority in the Assembly and a 26-14 majority in the Senate.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.