Experts: Don't expect upsets

Glendale News Press

As voters prepare to head to the polls for Tuesday's primary election, Crescenta-Cañada political watchdogs are predicting few surprises in local races.

La Cañada resident and state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for the 44th District race, and only one candidate is seeking the Republican nomination in the race, 21-year-old UCLA student Alvaro Day.

Longtime Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas) is being challenged for the Republican nomination for the 26th District.

But the challenger, businessman Mark Butler, is a relative unknown, said local Republican organizer David Wilcox, and is unlikely to beat Dreier.

"His voting record has been absolutely splendid," Wilcox said of Dreier. "It has been perfect in the past year and a half."

The lone candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in the 26th District congressional race is Rancho Cucamonga resident Russ Warner. He has been endorsed by the Cañada-Crescenta Democratic Club, said president Dana Runge.

The California primary races creating the most excitement are those for the Republican nomination for governor and the U.S. Senate, political activists said.

Top candidates in the closely contested Republican Senate primary include Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell and Carly Fiorina. Backlash created by the Obama administration and its policies could swing the race in the Republican's favor come November, said Al Restivo, chairman of the La Cañada Flintridge Republican Club.

"The Senate race is very hot because I think this is the first time in a very long time that [incumbent] Barbara Boxer can be taken down," Restivo said. "[She] is particularly disliked. You have a groundswell of people wanting to remove her."

Joe Mealey, a past president of the Cañada-Crescenta Democratic Club, acknowledged that Boxer is vulnerable.

"I think she is absolutely a great senator, but she is going to be in the fight of her life just because she has been a tough senator and made some hard choices," Mealey said. "Whoever is the Republican nominee will have a shot, and we will have to fight hard to get her elected again."

The race for the Republican nomination for governor is too close too call, Restivo said. But conservatives have strong candidates to choose from.

"Carly has a good reputation," Restivo said. "And Chuck DeVore is a solid conservative."

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown is the most seasoned of the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, Mealey said.

"I think Jerry Brown will make a great governor, and he will bring experience rather than a gigantic pot of money," Mealey said.

Democratic candidates should not be overly concerned about negative backlash from national policy issues, such as health-care reform, Runge said.

She predicted that such reaction could weaken Republican candidacies as conservatives attack moderate Republicans for not being conservative enough.

"I see the Tea Party movement as probably more of a concern for Republican incumbents because it is generally conservatives expressing their dissatisfaction with other conservatives," Runge said.

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