SACRAMENTO -- A judge on Friday ruled that Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch could be allowed on the ballot for the open 26th state Senate District seat in the June primary but county officials later determined he did not turn in enough valid signatures on nominating petitions to qualify.
Mirisch would have been the only Republican candidate among seven Democrats and one candidate with no party preference who have filed papers to run for the seat. The office opened up when Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) decided to run for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Waxman.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen had refused to accept the papers, saying they were filed improperly by fax, but a Sacramento Superior Court Judge disagreed.
"The court made the right decision to force an open election," said Mirisch, a 51-year-old film executive, before the registrar said he had not qualified for the ballot. "I think a Prius Conservative with a focus on fiscal responsibility deserves to be heard in our district," he added. "We need at least one voice for sustainable government based on responsible public pay and pension reform."
Mirisch said he was in Washington attending a National League of Cities meeting when he was contacted by Republican leaders in California on the eve of the March 12 filing deadline urging him to become a candidate.
In addition to faxing his nominating petition to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, he also put a copy in overnight mail and it reached the registrar the morning after the deadline.
There are so many Democrats in the race, some pundits thought they could split the vote and the runoff could have ended up being between Mirisch and the no-party-preference candidate.
[Update at 4:57 pm: The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk said a review of the 49 signatures submitted by Mirisch on his nominating petitions determined that 12 were invalid, so he did not qualify to be on the ballot for the Senate district. A spokesman for the registrar said Mirisch's only remedy would be to go to court.]