Rep. Mel Levine scored a clear-cut victory in the 27th Congressional District on Tuesday by soundly defeating conservative Republican pension planner Rob Scribner for the second time in two years.
Levine (D-Santa Monica) and his fellow Democratic incumbents swept every legislative and congressional race on the Westside, according to complete, but unofficial, returns. In the only open contest, Democrat Terry B. Friedman easily captured the 43rd Assembly District seat.
The victories capped a listless political season on the Westside. Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica), who usually faces stiff Republican opposition, handily defeated GOP opponent Gloria J. Stout in a low-budget, low-key campaign. And other Westside Democrats faced mostly modest opposition.
Animosity Enlivened Race
The personal animosity between Levine and Scribner enlivened the 27th Congressional District race. Levine, who received 64% of the vote, called Scribner a "fanatical person" during the campaign. Scribner, who got 34% of the vote, criticized Levine's political positions on virtually everything.
Levine, who matched Scribner's $272,000 outlay, said voters were turned off by Scribner's continuous attacks. "Wild appeals in the form of negative campaigning do not work," Levine said Wednesday. "The charges were so absurd on the face of it that the voters were intelligent enough to reject them."
Scribner, a lay minister in the Church of the Foursquare Gospel, was not available for comment. But Levine's margin of victory may discourage him from making a third bid for the seat, which takes in Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista, Venice and parts of the South Bay. Levine received 55% of the vote in 1984. This year he increased his margin of victory by nearly 10%.
"The problem in this district is that there's a 60,000 to 70,000 disparity between Democrats and Republicans," said Harrison W. Sommer, Scribner's campaign manager. "Whether that can be overcome or not is the major question. So far the question has been answered twice. If that's the bottom line, then it would be foolish to keep trying to prove them wrong."
Friedman captured 60% of the vote in his maiden campaign for the 43rd Assembly District. The soft-spoken attorney was supported by the powerful political organization headed by Reps. Howard L. Berman (D-Studio City) and Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and faced only nominal Republican opposition for the seat, which covers Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Westwood and parts of the San Fernando Valley. The seat was vacated by Assemblyman Gray Davis (D-Los Angeles), who was elected state controller Tuesday.
'Got a Lot of Ideas'
Friedman spent election night in Venice with a small group of family and friends. He said he expects to spend the next several weeks learning about his new job. "I've got a lot of ideas on legislation," Friedman said. "But first I want to learn how to legislate and get bills through."
Election night produced double dividends for Hayden. The liberal politician scored his biggest personal victory to date by capturing nearly 60% of the vote in the 44th Assembly District, which stretches from Malibu to Century City. He also celebrated the resounding victory of Proposition 65, the statewide anti-toxics measure backed chiefly by Hayden and his wife, actress Jane Fonda.
Hayden spent the early part of the evening at a star-studded party in honor of Proposition 65 at the Miramar Sheraton in Santa Monica. Barbra Streisand was among the guests.
Later, Hayden dropped by the campaign headquarters of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights, the political organization that is allied with Hayden in Santa Monica.
"This is certainly the biggest victory of my life," Hayden said Wednesday. "I am confident from these numbers that I have a very strong base of support. . . . I feel more accepted."
There were four Assembly races on the Westside.
In Friedman's 43rd District, Marc Philip Schuyler, a Republican, got 38% of the vote. John Honigsfeld of the Peace and Freedom Party received 2%.
In Hayden's 44th District, Republican Stout got 37% of the vote, Libertarian Neal Donner got 2% and the Peace and Freedom Party's Carol Berman got 2%.
Margolin an Easy Winner
Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles) was an easy winner in the 45th District, which takes in the Pico-Robertson area, Fairfax and Hollywood. Margolin received 68%; Jana Olson, his Republican opponent, 27%; Libertarian Donald Meyer, 2%, and the Peace and Freedom Party's Sylvia F. Kushner, 3%.
In the 49th District, which includes Culver City, Venice and Marina del Rey, Assemblywoman Gwen Moore (D-Los Angeles) easily outpaced her opponents with 78% of the vote. Eric Givens, a Republican, received 20%, and Susan M. Gong of the Peace and Freedom Party got 2%.
In state Senate races, 18th District state Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara) was victorious with 65% of the vote. Republican DeWayne Holmdahl got 33%, and Libertarian Jay C. Wood received 2%. The 18th District includes Malibu.