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Incumbents March Back Into Office

November 06, 1986|BOB WILLIAMS | Times Staff Writer

It was a bad day for challengers in the South Bay.

They were left on the sidelines while a long line of congressional, state and local incumbents marched by to another term in office, according to final, unofficial results of the general election tabulated Wednesday.

A couple of incumbents did encounter some stiff resistance along the way.

Challenge to Levine

On the congressional side, Democrat Mel Levine of Santa Monica had to fight off some strong campaign thrusts from Republican Rob Scribner in their rematch for the coastal 27th District seat.

But in the final stretch Tuesday, Levine picked up enough support from the party faithful to cruise to a comfortable victory with 64% of the vote.

Scribner, a Christian lay pastor and former football star, lost ground since his first battle with the liberal incumbent--42% in 1984 compared to 34% this time.

State Democratic Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd of Hawthorne, startled by a surprise assault from Republican Roger Fiola and the state GOP in the last days of the campaign, had to scramble to recover his footing in his 53rd District stronghold before winning with 53% of the votes.

Otherwise the incumbents had an easy time of it.

Vigorous Challenge

In the 28th Congressional District, Democrat Julian C. Dixon of Inglewood picked up 77% of the votes--about the same as his 75% in 1984--despite a vigorous challenge from the Republican candidate, Latino businessman George Adams.

Democrat Mervyn M. Dymally of Compton easily survived a rehash of his controversial political career to win a fourth term in Congress in the 31st District with 71% of the vote.

And at the southern end of the South Bay, Democrat Glenn M. Anderson of San Pedro in the 32nd District and Republican Daniel E. Lungren of Long Beach in the 42nd were waved on by the voters to easy victories.

Besides Floyd, familiar figures returning for more legislative work in the state Assembly are Democrat Curtis R. Tucker of Inglewood in the 50th District, Republican Gerald N. Felando of San Pedro in the 51st and Democrat Dave Elder of Long Beach in the 57th.

Elder's GOP opponent, 68-year-old Clair E. Barnes, who stressed biblical morality in government and schools in his campaign, died last week of a heart attack.

High Vote Totals

Veteran Democrat Ralph C. Dills of Gardena scored with nearly 72% of the votes in the 30th state Senate District, and fellow party member Diane Watson of Los Angeles coasted in with an even higher margin--79%--in the 28th.

On the local front, Inglewood Mayor Edward Vincent defeated two opponents trying to block his bid for a second term. He carried off nearly 80% of the votes, while William (Bill) Wagstaff came in a distant second in the nonpartisan race with about 10%, trailed by school trustee W. R. (Tony) Draper.

Draper vainly rallied school district employees and several parents groups behind his effort, and Wagstaff, a tax accountant and former Inglewood planning commissioner, went after the city's small pool of Republican voters. Both Draper and Vincent are Democrats.

Vincent outspent his foes 20 to 1 and was favored going into the election, but his challengers hoped to capture enough votes to force a runoff election in January.

People Say, 'Thank You'

That did not happen. Vincent, 52, the first black mayor in Inglewood, where 80% of the residents are minorities, drew far more votes than the 51% that were needed to avoid the runoff.

The landslide surprised Vincent, who said he "didn't realize just how much the citizens support me."

"The people are speaking in this election and they are saying, 'Thank you, Ed Vincent, we like what you are doing,' " the mayor said.

A county probation officer and former Inglewood school trustee, Vincent was elected to the City Council in 1979 and elected mayor three years later.

In a race for the El Segundo Unified School District Board of Education, Alan D. Leitch, a newcomer to city politics, won a seat with a narrow lead of 122 votes over Dennis Martin, who was trying for the fourth time to make it to the board.

Surprising Results

The close match surprised many, since Martin, a longtime political activist, had never attracted significant support in past campaigns. His 48% of the vote this time around was about three times what he had received in years past.

Though Leitch was relatively unknown before the election, the 41-year-old optometrist outspent his opponent by a 4-1 margin and was endorsed by several city officials and parents' organizations.

He will serve the remaining year left in the term vacated by Alan West, who was elected to the City Council in April.

Two South Bay Hospital District incumbents easily won reelection to four-year terms on the board, which grants money for public health programs in Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.

Experience Cited

Jean G. McMillan, a six-year board member, and 19-year member Gerald R. Witt stressed their experience and familiarity with board operations.

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