Democrat Capps Headed For A Runoff In Calif. Race
Conservative Bordonaro finishes second
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AllPolitics, Jan. 14) -- Democrat Lois Capps, trying to claim the congressional seat of her late husband Walter, failed Tuesday to capture an outright majority, and faces a March 10 runoff with conservative Republican state lawmaker Tom Bordonaro.
With thousands of votes still to be counted in the special election, Capps had 45 percent to Bordonaro's 29.1 percent.
A more centrist Republican in the race, Brooks Firestone, finished third, in a slap in the face of sorts for Republican leaders, including House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had urged Firestone to run.
"I never dreamed I'd be standing here -- a school nurse, a part-time teacher, a working mom," Capps, 60, told her supporters. "It wouldn't have happened without family -- and you know there's one person missing."
Bordonaro, 38, an opponent of abortion and abortion, credited "a good conservative message" for his showing.
"It resonated with voters and translated into a victory [over Firestone]," he said.
An estimated 80 percent of 12,500 uncounted absentee ballots are from Firestone's base in Santa Barbara County, and conceivably could affect the outcome. But Firestone would have to get about 50 percent of those votes to jump ahead of Bordonaro into the runoff.
A Libertarian candidate in the race, Robert Bakhaus, got 0.6 percent of the vote.
Turnout was 46 percent in the year's first special election, which political analysts watched for possible cues to the nation's political mood. Registration in the district is 41 percent Democratic, 41 percent Republican, and the rest independents.
Whoever wins the seat will fill out the rest of Walter Capps' term, which ends Jan. 3, 1999. That person could run as incumbent in the November elections. The late Capps died from a heart attack last fall.