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CONGRESS: Tucker, Horn Appear Victorious in 37th, 38th District Races : ELECTIONS CONGRESS : Tucker, Horn Are Apparent Winners in 2 Tight Races : Politics: In 37th District, Compton's mayor and opponent Lynn Dymally see lead go back and forth late into the night. In 38th District, ex-CSULB President Horn edges out rival.

June 04, 1992|TINA GRIEGO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SOUTHEAST AREA — The champagne and soda had gone flat, the chips were just crumbs and most of the supporters had already headed home to bed, but in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, a drama was being played out in two of the Southeast's central Congressional districts.

Throughout Tuesday evening and long past midnight, Compton Unified School District Trustee Lynn Dymally and Compton Mayor Walter R. Tucker III jockeyed back and forth in a nerve-racking battle for lead position in the 37th District, which includes Compton, Carson and Hawthorne.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring 38th Congressional district, which includes most of Long Beach, the vote tally in the Republican primary seesawed between former Cal State Long Beach President Steve Horn and former California Assemblyman Dennis Brown.

In the end, Tucker and Horn appeared to have edged out their rivals by a handful of votes, wrapping up two of the hardest fought Southeast-area Congressional primaries.

Southeast area voters went to the polls Tuesday to select representatives in five Congressional districts--four of which have open seats.

Despite the unique opportunity to change the face of the area Congressional delegation, preliminary reports indicate that the voter turnout in the area was very light, about 28%. Unofficial exit polls at several precincts revealed a number of voters who said they voted against anyone who was in office or seemed to be a political insider; many also cast their ballots for women.

Dymally, daughter of Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally (D-Compton), appeared to get caught in the cross-fire. Accused on one side of riding her father's coattails, and praised on the other side for being strong-minded and intelligent, Dymally saw her early lead over Tucker slip away during the night.

There is still a chance, however, that Dymally and Brown could wrest the lead from their rivals. An unknown number of ballots have been set aside by the Los Angeles county registrar of voters to be hand-counted. Among them are late absentee ballots and write-in votes, including those for Ross Perot for president. Spokeswoman Marcia Ventura said the registrar's office hopes to have the ballots counted by June 22.

Though the November general election still lies ahead, the primary results indicate that this winter the new Southeast-area congressional delegation is likely to be as ethnically diverse as the Southeast itself--made up of a black lawyer, a Latina assemblywoman, a Latino assemblyman, and two Anglo men.

Below is a summary of each Southeast-area race.

33rd DISTRICT

( Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, South Gate, Huntington Park, Maywood, Vernon, Florence, Walnut Park; parts of Downey, Los Angeles, East Los Angeles .)

As predicted, Assemblywoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Los Angeles) blew past her two opponents and will head into the November general election the heavy favorite.

The 49-year-old lawmaker captured almost 75% of the vote, setting her on her way down the path her retiring father, Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles), blazed to Congress three decades ago.

Roybal-Allard easily fended off challenges from paralegal Lucy F. Kihm and real estate broker Frank Fernandez in the newly drawn district, which is 84% Latino--the highest Latino concentration of any congressional district in the country.

Roybal-Allard ran a low-profile campaign, highlighting her battles against a proposed industrial incinerator and toxic-waste recycling plant in the city of Vernon. She will face Republican educational consultant Robert Guzman in November, but given the overwhelming number of Democrats in the district, she is expected to win with little problem.

34th DISTRICT

( Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier; parts of Commerce, East Los Angeles, Hacienda Heights .)

While candidates in neighboring congressional districts were nervously waiting out Tuesday evening's vote count, Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-Pico Rivera) and his challengers, Republican J. (Jay) Hernandez and Libertarian Carl M. Swinney were looking ahead to November.

The trio faced no opposition in Tuesday's primary. Torres got about 65% of the votes cast by both parties, but only about 22% of the voters turned out.

"I keep telling people that the real fight doesn't begin until after (the primary)," said Victor Valenzuela, Hernandez's campaign manager. But with Democrats holding a solid voting majority in the district, the 62-year-old Torres is a strong favorite to win his sixth term in the House.

37th DISTRICT

(Carson, Lynwood, Wilmington, Willowbrook, most of Compton; parts of Athens, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Paramount.)

Hopes for a Dymally dynasty in the 37th Congressional District appeared doomed Wednesday as Tucker inched past Lynn Dymally after a bitter campaign to succeed her father.

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