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Gelman Fails to Qualify in 24th Race

Falling short of the needed signatures, Joe C. Gelman failed to qualify as a Republican candidate for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Woodland Hills), election officials said Monday.

“He had only 23 good signatures and he needed a minimum of 40,” said Marcia Ventura, a spokeswoman in the Los Angeles County elections office.

Gelman, a 35-year-old Westwood political consultant, attributed the failure to the rush of collecting signatures of registered Republican voters the afternoon of the filing deadline.

Initially, he said, he was misinformed about the Dec. 29 deadline, believing there had been an extension because the race would have no incumbent. When he learned otherwise, he and his supporters had only a few hours to collect the signatures and file the appropriate documents--which he did seven minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline.

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Now, Gelman’s only option is to challenge the elections office decision in court--something he is considering. “It doesn’t look like a lot of fun,” he said, “and the [legal] precedents don’t look in our favor.”

Gelman, former campaign manager of the proposed California initiative to abolish affirmative action, said he wanted to join the race because he was not satisfied with the leadership potential or views of the other three Republicans vying for the 24th Congressional District seat.

The other Republicans are Richard Sybert, an attorney and businessman from Calabasas; Stephen C. Brecht, an estate planner and author from Woodland Hills, and Kyo Jhin, a business owner and educator from Malibu. The 24th District includes Thousand Oaks, Malibu and western portions of the San Fernando Valley.

Sybert said he has a lot of sympathy for Gelman, whom he considers a friend. “This must be enormously frustrating for him,” Sybert said. “I hope after time passes he will support me in the election.”

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Gelman helped Sybert campaign against Beilenson last year. By next fall, he said, “It may very well be that I’ll be walking for Rich Sybert in the general election.”


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