In an unexpected turn of events, Democrats have captured their 55th Assembly seat by taking the 36th Assembly District that covers LA County’s Antelope Valley, southeastern Kern County, and the San Bernardino County communities of Phelan, Pinon Hills, and Wrightwood. Republicans now hold just 25 seats. 2/3 of the seats is 54.
Democrat Attorney/Teacher Steve Fox defeated Republican Lancaster Councilman/Business Owner Ron Smith by 145 votes after LA County finished counting its ballots today. Smith had led Fox by 1,952 votes after Election Night counting.
|Fox (D)||Smith (R)|
The Assembly had already assigned an office to Republican Smith and posted his picture on the wall of Assembly Members. Smith had hired most of his staff, and the office of Legislative Counsel had already prepared two pieces of legislation for Smith to introduce. Smith has stated that he will seek a recount.
The Assembly is set to swear in its new members tomorrow at 12 noon. It is unclear if Fox will be sworn in or if the Assembly will wait for the results of the recount.
The old 36th Assembly District seat was held by Steve Knight, who left after two terms to successfully win election to the new 21st Senate District.
LA County Registrar Dean Logan’s claim to national fame was as Elections Director in King County, Washington in 2004.
- In the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election, Republican Dino Rossi led Democrat Christine Gregoire by 261 votes at the end of vote counting.
- After the first recount (triggered by Washington’s automatic machine recount law), Rossi’s lead shrunk to 42.
- In the second recount (a manual one request by the Washington Democratic Party), Logan announced that 561 rejected absentee ballots would be counted, and workers in Logan’s county found another 162 uncounted ballots on a tray in a warehouse. This totaled 723 ballots that had not been counted before. After they were counted, Rossi’s 42-vote lead became a 129-vote deficit.
- After much legal wrangling, Gregoire was sworn in as Governor on the day Governor Gary Locke’s term expired. Gregoire defeated Rossi 53%-47% in a 2008 rematch.