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Local Democrats reign

Three Democratic incumbents representing Glendale and Burbank were well on their way to victory in early returns Tuesday night, even as their party took a beating around the country.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) all led their Republican challengers by double-digit gaps in early voter returns, according to the Los Angeles County registrar, pulling ahead to almost insurmountable leads.

Still, Schiff and Sherman will find the Washington, D.C., landscape vastly different at the start of the 112th Congress in January, as Republican gains around the country placed the House of Representatives in GOP hands.

“I look at this as the people of the country telling us that the parties have to work together,” Schiff said.

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He thanked district voters for returning him to office.

“I feel very fortunate, particularly given the drubbing my party is taking across the country,” he added.

Schiff’s election-night party was at the Pasadena Hilton, where his supporters expressed little doubt that Schiff would win.

Antoinette Perry, who said she supported Schiff because he is responsive to voter needs, said, “They said it was going to be a victory party, and I didn’t question that.”

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Schiff’s challenger, Republican John Colbert, watched the national election returns at the historic Green Hotel in Pasadena on Tuesday night. His supporters credited the businessman for engaging conservatives in a traditionally liberal area.

“I think he really got the base energized,” Jennifer Barberie of Pasadena said. “In California, they always just overlook Republicans.”

Sherman’s advantage in name recognition and campaign money helped him get a comfortable lead on his main challenger, Republican Mark Reed, in a strongly Democratic district.

“This is a very tough time for the country, and there is a tendency to just think, ‘We’ll vote against everybody who’s held office that things are going to get better,’” Sherman said. “It seems the voters of the 27th District don’t think that way, and I’m honored and humbled.”

Gatto, an attorney and former aide to Sherman, also led Republican Sunder Ramani in the race for a full two-year term in the 43rd Assembly District seat representing Glendale, Burbank and parts of Los Angeles. In June, Gatto beat Ramani 59% to 41% in June to win the right to fill the final months of former Assemblyman Paul Krekorian’s term.

On Tuesday, Gatto appeared alongside Sherman at the Democratic Party’s San Fernando Valley headquarters in Van Nuys, thanking his supporters and promising to restore fiscal responsibility at the state capitol.

“I’ve said since Day 1 of the campaign that Sacramento is in serious need of good government reform,” he said in an interview.

Ramani said his campaign had challenged the Democrat stronghold in the district.

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“We feel very strong about the effort,” he said.

Voters outside Burbank and Glendale polling places indicated the avalanche of television, radio and direct mail ads had little influence.

Karen Mansoorian, who voted at a senior center on Angeleno Avenue, did not look at the mailers he received. “Chucked them,” he said.

Mansoorian said he voted for Schiff because of the congressman’s support of the Armenian-American community. He also backed Gatto. But he said he wasn’t voting the Democratic Party line. “Not the Moonbeam,” he said, referring to gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.

— Editor Dan Evans and City Editor Jason Wells contributed to this story.


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