A Redlands assemblyman, a Pomona lawyer and a former teacher from Laguna Hills were among the winners Tuesday in a series of contested primaries that determined who will be on the ballot in the San Gabriel Valley in November.
Assemblyman Bill Leonard (R-Redlands) scored one of Tuesday's easiest victories, defeating lawyer Gene Osko of Glendora for the Republican nomination to succeed retiring state Sen. H.L. (Bill) Richardson (R-Glendora) in the sprawling 25th State Senate District. The district extends east from Azusa through Redlands to Needles in San Bernardino County and northward to Inyo County.
Leonard carried all three counties, winning 55,988 votes or 68.2%, to Osko's 26,143, or 31.8%.
The 40-year-old assemblymen will face Sandra K. Hester, 45, former associate director of the public policy analysis program at Pomona College. Hester, who describes her views as moderate to liberal, defeated two conservative Democrats, former Azusa Councilman James Cook and former San Bernardino County Supervisor Cal McElwain. The vote was Hester, 23,494, or 38.4%; McElwain, 19,530, or 31.9%, and Cook, 18,180, or 29.7%.
In another contested Democratic state Senate primary, Janice Lynn Graham, 52, who taught school in New York and ran a bed-and-breakfast inn in North Carolina before moving to Laguna Hills last year, defeated Stan Caress, a lecturer at Cal State Long Beach who lives in West Covina.
The vote in the 31st Senate District, which stretches from West Covina south through Orange County, was Graham, 30,296, or 59.9%, and Caress, 20,285, or 40.1%.
Graham will face Sen. William Campbell (R-Hacienda Heights), who won the Republican primary unopposed, in November.
Perhaps the most surprising result was the Democratic primary in the 33rd Congressional District, where the winner was Nelson Gentry, 47, who was a Republican for 22 years before he changed registration and moved into the district about a year ago. Gentry, a former Montclair councilman, defeated John Kraft, 47, a Hacienda Heights businessman who has been a party fund-raiser and had the endorsement of local Democratic clubs.
Gentry, who practices law in Pomona and lives in Claremont, ran on a platform that included mandatory military service, a limit on congressional sessions to two months a year and a flat tax on business income. Gentry said he ran to find out if other Democrats shared his conservative views about free enterprise and a strong national defense.
Kraft called Gentry's views "radical," but Gentry won decisively, receiving 24,326 votes or 56%, to Kraft's 19,181 votes, or 44%.
In the area's only municipal court contest, Judge S. Clark Moore, 63, survived a challenge by a 40-year-old Arcadia attorney, Donald S. Kennedy, to retain his seat on the bench at Santa Anita Municipal Court.
The vote was Moore, 11,359 votes, or 53.4%, and Kennedy, 9,924 votes, or 46.6%. The court serves the cities of Arcadia, Bradbury, Duarte and Monrovia.