By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
Two Japanese American legislators from Southern California are expressing optimism about the November general election following the June 3 primary.
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside), who is serving his first term in Congress, was in first place with 19,648 votes (44.7 percent). His Republican opponent in the runoff, Riverside City Councilmember Steve Adams, was in second with 16,264 votes (37.0 percent). Also running were Democrat Veronica Franco (4,509 votes, 10.2 percent) and Republican Yvonne Terrell Girard (3,581 votes, 8.1 percent).
“I’m very pleased with outcome of the primary election,” Takano said. “Two years ago, I trailed my Republican opponent (John Tavaglione) by 8 points; this year I led my Republican opponent by almost 8 points.
“The aggregate Democratic vote (in the district) exceeds 50 percent … June primaries are usually a lower turnout and much more conservative. I expect that my standing among the electorate will only improve in a large voter turnout in the fall … I’m not out of the woods yet. We could suffer more setbacks with the president’s popularity over the summer, but as of now I’m very optimistic that I’m going to be re-elected.”
Although other primary races were dominated by attack ads, Takano said the campaign in the 41st Congressional District, which includes Riverside, Jurupa Valley, Moreno Valley and Perris, was “pretty uneventful.”
Takano said the results show that “the voters have recognized that I am a strong advocate for the needs of our community. I look forward to the general election campaign and an in-depth discussion on the issues that matter most to the Inland Empire: creating new jobs, raising the minimum wage, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and recognizing the service of our veterans.”
In the 66th Assembly District, the latest results have Republican David Hadley, a Manhattan Beach businessman, ahead by 216 votes — 30,508 (50.2 percent) to 30,292 (49.8 percent) for Asssemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance). There were no other candidates, but the two must still go to a runoff.
Muratsuchi, who was first elected in 2012, also said that voter turnout was more conservative in the primary and that he is “confident” he will prevail in the general election.
In a message to his supporters the day after the election, Muratsuchi said, “I’d like to thank the voters of the South Bay for your confidence in me. Your vote in a low-turnout open primary demonstrates my strong support among Democrats, Republicans, and independents who want a problem-solver, not a partisan.
“I look forward to continuing my record of balancing budgets, growing our economy and jobs, and investing in education.”
In a subsequent message, he said, “The razor-thin June primary margin served as a powerful reminder that we have a tough fight ahead of us. The battle to win the November election begins now … If voter know my record, we win in November.”
The district includes Gardena, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Harbor City, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates and Torrance.