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Condit loses in California primary

SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- Battered by the political fallout of his relationship with missing Washington intern Chandra Levy, Californian congressman Gary Condit lost the Democratic primary by a wide margin to state assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, according to figures posted on the state government's Web site.

Before the initial results were in, Condit spoke to reporters late Tuesday outside his home in Ceres, California, thanking the voters and speaking fondly about his seven terms in office representing California's 18th Congressional District.

"It's been a great opportunity to be in public service and represent [the voters] ... and I'll never forget it," Condit said, with his family and campaign volunteers behind him. "I'm going to work hard the remaining time that I have there and do everything I can do to make the valley a better place to be."

Cardoza, 42, is a Condit protege and former friend.
Cardoza, 42, is a Condit protege and former friend.  

In the early hours of Wednesday, the final results were posted on California's secretary of state's Web site: with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Cardoza won with 55.3 percent of the vote to Condit's 37.5 percent.

The Condit race was one of several contests in the California primaries that drew national attention.

In a race with the most significant political implications, conservative Republican Bill Simon pulled off a dramatic come-from-behind victory to defeat former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan in the state's GOP gubernatorial primary. Riordan, a moderate who had been encouraged to run by President George W. Bush, had been the heavy favorite in the early stages of the campaign.

U.S. Rep. Gary Condit lost an election for the first time in 30 years in the California Democratic Party primary. CNN's Frank Buckley reports (March 6)

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Republican Bill Simon and Democrat Dennis Cardoza secured California's nominations for governor and U.S. Congress, respectively. CNN's Lillian Kim reports (March 6)

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Simon wins California GOP primary for governor 
People in the News: Gary Condit 
Interactive: Election results 

The state's voters also cast ballots on six propositions. They rejected a proposal that would have eased term limits for state legislators. They also voted to spend more money to update voting machines, and to protect natural areas.

And, in Los Angeles, voters picked lawyer Linda Sanchez to run for Congress in November's general election. If she wins, she would join her sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, in the House of Representatives -- making them the first sisters to serve together in Congress.

Condit's son: Cardoza 'backstabbed Gary'

During the Tuesday night news conference, Chad Condit accused Cardoza, his father's former aide, of using the Levy situation to his advantage.

"Gary helped Dennis, Dennis backstabbed Gary," Chad Condit told reporters. "He took advantage of a tragedy ... he saw an opportunity to win an election, and he did it."

When asked if he was referring to the Levy situation, he said "yes."

However, he noted his father was not bitter about the results.

Levy, 24, was last seen in Washington this past spring, shortly after completing an internship. Police have said they've found no evidence of wrongdoing and have never named any suspects in the case.

Still, Condit, 53, emerged as a pivotal figure because of his relationship with Levy. He has refused to publicly describe it, but police sources say the married congressman and grandfather admitted to an affair with the young woman during an interview with investigators. Her family has charged that Condit impeded the investigation by initially holding back details about the relationship.

Condit and his supporters insist the decision on his re-election should be based on his record as a public servant, not the media frenzy surrounding the Levy case.

Meanwhile, Cardoza gave his victory speech in Modesto, California, announcing, "It's great to have friends."

"Today the people of the central valley stood up for their values, the values that are central to our lives," he said, recounting the story of his grandparents' struggle to realize American dream.

"Just two generations later, I stand here tonight as a member of the California state assembly and as the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Congress," he said.


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