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Gatto, Ramani win

Democrat and Republican will compete for the seat in a runoff in June.

April 14, 2010|By Zain Shauk

Democrat Mike Gatto will face Republican Sunder Ramani in a special June runoff election for the 43rd Assembly District after the two beat their competition for the first in a series of elections for the same seat.

With all precincts reporting, Gatto was the top vote-getter with 10,584 votes. Ramani earned 10,403. Each of the men took close to 32% of the total vote.

Gatto’s main Democratic rival, Glendale school board member Nayiri Nahabedian, took 22% of the vote, with 7,298. The other Democrat in the race, Armenian television host Chahe Keuroghelian, was last with 4,444, or 14%.

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The special primary election on Tuesday was the first of four elections that voters will face before the end of the year for the same office, with a runoff election between the top Democratic vote-getter and the lone Republican candidate set to take place on June 8, the same day as a partisan primary ahead of another election for the Assembly seat Nov. 2.

The special election was triggered when Paul Krekorian vacated the seat to serve on the Los Angeles City Council in December.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I expect this,” Gatto, an attorney and former district director for Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) said of his lead in the polls, which was spurred by a strong showing in vote-by-mail balloting.

Ramani, a small-business owner whose supporters predicted that he would score an outright victory Tuesday by earning more than 50% of all votes, was pleased with the results from a district where 47% of voters were registered Democrats, 25% Republicans and 23% declined to state a party affiliation.

“We feel good,” he said as he checked for updates with supporters at Burbank Bar & Grille.

About 16% of registered voters participated in the special election, far more than what was expected.

Burbank resident Cynthia Tobin said she voted to send a message to Sacramento that their way of business wasn’t working.

She voted for Ramani, even though she had cast ballots for Democrats in the past, because she said the Democrat-controlled Legislature was doing a poor job of solving state problems.

“It just seems whoever’s in, you want out,” Tobin said.

Although Ramani will now face off with the top Democratic vote-getter in a June 8 runoff, all of the candidates will continue campaigning for the June 8 primary.

The winner in the June 8 special election will serve the remainder of Krekorian’s unexpired term, which ends Nov. 30, while the Nov. 2 election will determine the district’s representative for the upcoming two-year term.

All three Democrats will face off in a primary, also to be held on June 8, to determine their party representative for the Nov. 2 contest.

That means voters could cast ballots for two candidates on June 8, their choice out of the two runoff candidates and their preference for the Nov. 2 race.

Gatto was already looking ahead to June, hours before polls closed.

“We’ve been campaigning to a June universe,” he said.


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