Incumbents keep their seats

A Republican wave broke over the nation Tuesday, but it didn't reach Glendale or Burbank.

Final results for the three races in the region showed Democrat incumbents waltzed back into office by nearly 2-1 margins.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) took 65% of the vote Tuesday night, with challengers Republican John Colbert getting 32% and Libertarian William Cushing 3%, according to the Los Angeles County registrar.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) also took 65% of the vote, with challenger Republican Mark Reed garnering 35% of the vote.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) received 66% of the vote while GOP rival Sunder Ramani took 34%.

The combination of districts drawn to benefit Democrats, California's majority support for President Obama's policies and the advantages of incumbency helped carry the day, according to election watchers.

"The local districts were drawn to favor Democrats, and they did the job they were designed to do," John Pitney Jr., a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College, said.

Ramani, who argued during the campaign that California's budget problems stemmed from gerrymandering that favored spend-happy Democrats, agreed.

He said Tuesday's victory for Proposition 20 might change the playing field in the future. The measure gives an independent legislative redistricting committee the power to redraw the state's congressional districts.

"We can only hope we get some balanced lines drawn from that," Ramani said.

Name recognition also benefitted incumbents on Tuesday night. Glendale resident Brandon Cipes, who voted for Schiff, said he remembered Schiff coming to speak at his high school. Cindy Gates, voting at the Boy Scouts of America building on Grandview Avenue, said she has seen Schiff in action.

"He's a good guy," she said.

And Armand Garabidian, after leaving a polling station at Temple Sinai in Glendale, said he couldn't remember who Schiff's challenger was.

Schiff raised $1.2 million between his last election and Oct. 13, including $428,000 from political action committees that typically favor incumbents. Colbert raised a total of nearly $600,000 — $315,000 of it his own money, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Sherman raised $1.5 million, nearly $500,000 from PACs. Reed's fundraising total through Oct. 13 was $76,000.

California Secretary of State records show Gatto raised $479,000 for the election, with big contributions from Indian tribes, public unions and others with business in Sacramento after the June election that allowed him to complete the term of former Assemblyman Paul Krekorian.

Ramani raised $33,500 after the June special election.

Pitney added that California demographics led to results more favorable to Democrats.

"We have more Hispanic voters than most other states, which was important, fewer religious right voters and more secular voters," Pitney said.

Pitney said redistricting may not make a big impact in who represents the state in Congress. Primaries may become more competitive, he said, but Democrats still have an edge.

"The overall picture will be largely the same, even with less partisan districts," Pitney said.

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