With 100 percent of the precincts counted, candidates Jimmy Gomez and Luis Lopez earned the top two spots in the primary race for the 51st Assembly District.
Though the results were initially subject to a one decimal-point range of error—evidently a clerical mistake that was subsequently corrected—as of early Wednesday morning it appears as if Gomez and Lopez will we scheduled to square off in November's general election for the newly created seat.
Gomez earned 37.6 percent of the vote and claimed first place; Lopez won 24.5 percent of the vote, enough for second place; Chavez was narrowly relegated to third place, getting 23.4 percent of the vote.
Chavez told Echo Park-Silver Lake Patch he's likely to work for Luis Lopez now that he's out of the race. He said he thought that combining their bases of support could well defeat Gomez in November.
Just after midnight on Wednesday morning, 51st Assembly District candidates Luis Lopez and Arturo Chavez were running a tight race for second place and a chance to compete in the general election against presumed front-runner Jimmy Gomez.
With 65 percent of the precincts reporting, Gomez had a comfortable lead in the primary election for the newly created district, which includes Highland Park, Mount Washington, Eagle Rock and Echo Park--with 37.6-percent of the vote.
Shortly after 11 p.m., Chavez supporters cheered on their candidate at Cities Restaurant in East Los Angeles when it was announced that he had taken a temporary lead over Lopez
By midnight, Lopez led Chavez by less than a percentage point.
At Colombo's Restaurant in Eagle Rock, Lopez's campaign manager and partner Hans Johnson braced supporters for a long evening.
"It's going to be a long night," Johnson said. "Eat, drink and be merry."
Lopez said he hoped the long evening would be followed by lengthy campaign for the 51st District seat.
"I've run six marathons, five of them were Los Angeles marathons. This campaign is a lot like those marathons," Lopez said. "When you hit mile 17, you think you've hit the wall, but you've just got to keep going. Keep taking the next step. Absolutely I've got the energy."
Gomez entered a campaign party at his headquarters on North Figueroa Street in Highland Park looking like he'd just completed a marathon of his own.
Gomez walked into his campaign headquarters at around 9:30 p.m., looking a lot more lean than six weeks ago. "I lost maybe eight or 10 pounds," he told Patch, as some 50 supporters and volunteers mingled around in the large office space located in a small shopping plaza. Among those who greeted Gomez was City Councilmember Ed Reyes, who had arrived about 40 minutes earlier.
After absentee ballots released earlier in the evening showed him to have a lead, Gomez said he was hopeful he'd be able to push through to the next level.
"Turnout was low in primaries across the board," Gomez noted, adding: "November will be different. This is a two-step process. I hope I make the run off and come first or second. As long as I make that, I'll be good for the general election."
Elsewhere on the ballot, , which would raise the tax on the price of a box of cigarettes by $1 to fund state-sponsored cancer research, was defeated. As of midnight, the "ayes" were squarely stacked against the "nays" by 50 percentage points each.
No such drama remained for term-limit-altering , which looked ready to an easy passage with 63 percent of the vote.