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Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva concedes in O.C. Assembly race

Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva concedes in O.C. Assembly race
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (left) is joined Gov. Jerry Brown (center) at an event in Fountain Valley in October. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Democratic Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva has fallen to a challenge from Republican Young Kim in one of the year's most expensive Assembly races.

"We fought hard, we worked hard, but tonight is not our victory," Quirk-Silva said on Twitter shortly before midnight Tuesday.

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Democratic Party committees spent nearly $2 million in the last month of the campaign to protect Quirk-Silva, whose seat in the 65th district was seen as crucial in keeping the party's supermajority in the Assembly.

In October, the California Republican Party directed more than $650,000 to boost Kim, a former aide to Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).

Observers said the race between Kim, a Korean American, and Quirk-Silva, who is Latina, illustrated the changing demographics of Orange County, which have turned this once solidly Republican seat into a swing district.

During the campaign, Kim criticized Quirk-Silva as soft on protecting Proposition 13, the state's landmark property tax law.

Quirk-Silva, a former Fullerton city councilmember and teacher, has focused on local issues, including her push to have a new veterans' cemetery built in Orange County. Those efforts were lauded by Gov. Jerry Brown at an event last month at the cemetery's future site in Irvine.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

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