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Trautman Concedes Write-In Bid Fell Short

Politics: With final tally expected today, Democrat has only 515 of 2,105 votes she needs to face Rep. 'Buck' McKeon on November ballot.

June 24, 1998|DARRELL SATZMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SANTA CLARITA — With a final tally expected today, write-in Democratic candidate Diane Trautman has received less than one-quarter of the votes she needs to oppose Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) on the November ballot.

The Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office said Tuesday that unofficial results show Trautman with 515 votes in the June 2 primary for the 25th Congressional District, well short of the 2,105 votes required to place her name on the ballot.

While it is not known how many ballots remain to be counted, Trautman conceded Tuesday that she is unlikely to make up such a large shortfall.

"I think it's pretty clear that it's not going to happen," Trautman said. "We may try again in two years, but we'll make sure we get into the primary."

Trautman, a homemaker and president of the local Democratic Alliance for Action, announced her candidacy in May, too late to meet filing deadlines for party nominees in the June primary.

Write-in primary candidates must receive the equivalent of 1% of the total votes cast in the previous election to qualify for the November ballot, said Grace Chavez, a spokeswoman for the registrar-recorder's office.

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In May, Trautman said she held off getting into the race in the hope that another Democratic candidate would step forward to challenge McKeon. When none did, she said, she was persuaded by local Democrats to run against the conservative three-term congressman and former Santa Clarita mayor a second time. Facing McKeon in 1996, Trautman received more than 29,000 votes but lost 62% to 33%.

"I thought we would get a little closer than we did," Trautman said. "We just didn't move far enough fast enough."

Trautman's inability to qualify for the ballot leaves Libertarian candidate Bruce Acker, a Chatsworth businessman, as McKeon's sole opposition in November.

McKeon spokesman David Foy said the congressman does not plan to alter his campaign plans despite the lack of Democratic opposition.

"It probably means that we will spend less money in the race, but [McKeon] will continue to work as usual to reach out to his constituents and respond to their concerns," Foy said.

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