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POLITICAL NOTES

What Vote Count? Brooks Jumps the Gun to Share in GOP Triumph

November 17, 1994|TED JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

D.C. OR BUST: She's not the winner yet, and in fact, as of the last count, she was 260 votes behind (with an update expected perhaps as soon as today). But Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Susan Brooks is already in Washington.

She flew there Tuesday to be part of a transition team made up of Republican newcomers in the House of Representatives. And although the race for the 36th Congressional District is still undecided, House Speaker-to-be Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wanted her to come anyway, Brooks said. (She might run into incumbent Rep. Jane Harman (D-Rolling Hills), who has been in Washington since the day after the election).

Brooks and seven other representatives-elect were asked by the House Republican Conference to be part of the transition team. Win or lose, Brooks said, she will have some role in the upheaval in Washington.

"I want (the vote counting) to be done," Brooks said. "I feel like I've been in a very long labor."

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AND ON AND ON: If candidates are supposed to bury the hatchet after Election Day, what do they do if not all the votes are counted?

They continue the bickering.

That happened last Thursday, when Brooks showed up at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's Office in Norwalk to be interviewed live on TV along with Harman's campaign spokesman, Roy Behr. The dispute was over which side was challenging more ballot signatures, and therefore holding up the process.

"It would be nice if you told the truth for a change," Brooks said to Behr as they walked away from the interview.

"The campaign is over," Behr shot back.

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MACHINE TELLS ALL: The message on former Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Jacki Bacharach's answering machine on the day after the election: "Needless to say, it's a good thing Jacki didn't give up her day job." She lost her bid for a seat on the West Basin Municipal Water District.

But Bacharach may get a chance to celebrate anyway--she served as Harman's campaign treasurer.

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THE SON ALSO RISES: Kevin Murray's victory in the 47th Assembly District gives the state its first father-son legislative duo.

By winning the 47th Assembly District with 70% of the vote, Murray joins his father, Willard H. Murray Jr. (D-Paramount), who coasted to reelection in the 52nd Assembly District, which includes Compton, Gardena, Lynwood and Watts.

Kevin Murray will represent an area in which he grew up. The district includes parts of Baldwin Hills, the Crenshaw district, Culver City, Palms and South-Central L.A.

"I'm a little disappointed that the rest of our (Democratic) ticket didn't do so well, but I'm looking forward to representing my neighborhood," said Murray, an attorney in Windsor Hills.

Murray said his top priorities will be to help small businesses grow in his district, to reduce juvenile crime and to battle teen-age pregnancy.

"There's no point in tackling crime when you've still got teen-age mothers cranking out more at-risk kids," he said.

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LOOKING AHEAD: The counting of votes isn't even finished this year, but Brian Finander has his eyes on '96.

The Long Beach educator issued a news release on the day after the election announcing that he would run for the 27th State Senate District seat now held by Robert G. Beverly (R-Long Beach).

Finander sought the seat in 1992 and came within 5,054 votes of beating Beverly. And 1996 holds even greater hopes: Because of term limits, Beverly can't run again, and the seat will be open.

Then again, with the way things are going for Democrats, he might want to consider switching parties.

CONTENDERS GALORE: Los Angeles County Supervisor Deane Dana has handpicked his chief deputy, Don Knabe, as his successor when he retires in 1996, but that hasn't stopped speculation that a crowded field of contenders will run for the powerful post.

Long Beach Vice Mayor Doug Drummond plans to announce today that he will seek the seat. And former Rolling Hills Councilwoman Gordana Swanson, who challenged Dana in 1992, said she will decide by the end of the year.

"Of course, I've had interest in running," Swanson said. "It's a different time. And almost every day, I've had a lot of people asking me about it."

The field could be especially large because term limits will be forcing many state lawmakers out of office. Among those who could be looking for a seat with the supes: Assemblyman Paul Horcher (R-Diamond Bar).

Also on the list: Assemblywoman Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach), if she loses her seat, and Assemblyman Bob Epple (D-Cerritos), who lost to Phil Hawkins in the 56th District. Redondo Beach Mayor Brad Parton said he "is not ruling out a bid," although he is unsure because his wife is pregnant. Also interested: Torrance Councilman Dan Walker.

"If you took all of the people who are interested in that supervisorial seat and put them on Catalina Island, it would sink," Walker quipped.

Some politicos even mention Brooks and Harman, depending on who loses their contentious race.

When told of this, Harman spokesman Roy Behr, and Brooks' husband, Jim, had the same response: They laughed.

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THE WAITING GAME: Pundits expect Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor Steve Kuykendall to win the race against Karnette--which could tip the balance of Assembly seats to the Republicans and end Speaker Willie Brown's reign. Although some ballots remained to be counted, Kuykendall had taken a 476-vote lead over Karnette by Monday. Karnette heard the bad news while she was live on the radio with KCRW-FM's Warren Olney. But she refused to concede.

Times staff writer Ron Russell contributed to this report.

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