The Westside's deeply entrenched Democratic lawmakers swept to reelection victories Tuesday, easily overcoming Republican challengers, most of whom were little known and lacked the financial resources to mount a serious race.
The only Republican candidate with significant money to spend, congressional challenger Jim Salomon of Beverly Hills, was crushed once again by Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson of Los Angeles, who won an eighth term in the House of Representatives.
Salomon's heavy campaign spending--it made the 23rd Congressional District one of just a few in the nation where a challenger outspent an incumbent--made no difference in the result.
With all precincts reporting, Beilenson won reelection by a 62.1% to 33.7% margin, almost identical to his landslide victory over Salomon two years ago. Peace and Freedom candidate John Honigsfeld ran a distant third with 4.1% of the vote.
The affluent, traditionally Democratic and heavily Jewish 23rd District spans the Santa Monica Mountains and includes Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Westwood, Bel-Air, Century City, Beverly Hills, Rancho Park, Palms and the northwestern San Fernando Valley. Beilenson, who has represented the Westside part of the district for nearly a quarter of a century, first in Sacramento and then in Washington, stressed his long record of independence and refusal to accept campaign contributions from political action committees in targeted mailers to voters. Campaign potholders were used to shore up support in the San Fernando Valley.
Beilenson said Wednesday he was grateful to voters in the district for his solid reelection victory, particularly "after being outspent 2 to 1 and having my record totally distorted. . . . The people I represent know me well enough that they didn't fall for the negative campaign of my opponent."
Salomon was never able to find a successful avenue of attack against the incumbent despite substantial campaign resources and backing from the district's most famous Republican, Ronald Reagan.
To the south, Democratic Rep. Mel Levine of Santa Monica beat back an under-financed bid by Republican attorney David Barrett Cohen of West Los Angeles in the 27th Congressional District.
Levine, who has built a $1.7-million campaign war chest in anticipation of a run for the U.S. Senate in 1992, won a fifth term in Congress by a 58.6% to 36.8% margin in his district, which extends along the coast from Santa Monica to the South Bay.
Voters in the district, which has a significant Jewish population, did not embrace Cohen's call for establishment of a Palestinian state in territories occupied by Israel. Like most incumbents, Levine steadfastly refused to debate his challenger.
Peace and Freedom Party candidate Edward E. Ferrer drew 4.6% of the vote.
In the 24th Congressional District, powerful Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman of Los Angeles won a ninth term, with an overwhelming 69.3% of the vote. Republican John N. Cowles captured just 25.1% in his second challenge against the liberal lawmaker. Peace and Freedom candidate Maggie Phair drew 5.5% of the vote in the district, which runs from Fairfax area to North Hollywood.
Waxman is one of the namesakes of the Westside's Waxman-Berman Democratic political organization that once again demonstrated its lock on local races.
His colleague and political ally, Democratic Rep. Howard L. Berman of Panorama City, won a fifth term in the House with 61.3% of the vote. Republican businessman Roy Dahlson of Van Nuys captured just 34.5% of the votes and Libertarian Bernard Zimring received 4.2% of the votes. The 26th Congressional District includes hillside areas above Hollywood, Bel-Air and Beverly Hills, plus the northeastern San Fernando Valley.
And in the 28th Congressional District, Democrat Julian C. Dixon of Los Angeles won a seventh term in the House by capturing 73.1% of the vote. Republican businessman George Z. Adams received 21.8% in the solidly Democratic district, which includes Culver City, Westchester, Lennox, Baldwin Hills and South-Central Los Angeles. Peace and Freedom candidate William R. Williams drew 2.9% and Libertarian Bob Weber trailed with 2.2%.
The story of Democratic victories was the same in legislative races.
Despite a crushing statewide defeat in the fight over the "Big Green" environmental initiative, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Hayden of Santa Monica had no difficulty winning a fifth term in Sacramento.
Without campaigning, Hayden won reelection with 56.9% of the vote in the 44th Assembly District, which includes Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Venice, Mar Vista, West Los Angeles and Century City.
Republican challenger Fred Beteta, a longtime Santa Monica College trustee, drew 37.5% of the vote. Libertarian Rebecca Donner received 3.6%, and Peace and Freedom candidate Timothy A. Burdick polled 1.9%.
In the 43rd Assembly District, Democrat Terry B. Friedman of Los Angeles won a third term with 61% of the vote. Republican Gary Passi received 32.1%.