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Daucher Edging Matthias in Hard-Fought District 72


Brea Councilwoman Lynn Daucher had a slender lead in early returns Tuesday night in the Republican primary election for Assembly District 72, Orange County's most contentious and expensive state legislative contest.

With about a fifth of ballots counted, Daucher was running ahead of Bruce Matthias, a former racetrack executive who lives in Anaheim Hills. Fullerton Councilman Don Bankhead, a retired police captain, was in third place.

Nearly $1 million was spent in the fight to succeed Assemblyman Dick Ackerman (R-Fullerton) in the North County district.

The Daucher-Matthias fight crackled toward the end. Each complained to the county GOP Ethnics Committee that the other used mudslinging mailers. On Friday, the committee declined to act.

Huntington Beach City Councilman Tom Harman was leading led Republican activist Jim Righeimer for rights to the Republican mantle in the Assembly District 67 duel to succeed Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach). Harman's campaign was bolstered by more than $290,000 from unions and other traditionally Democratic loyalists.

"That's big--that [amount] was our whole campaign," said Righeimer, who spent $350,000. "The word up in Sacramento was that it was a jihad on Jim Righeimer. If I win, they have created a monster."

Assemblyman Bill Campbell (R-Villa Park) was cruising past Gary C. Beck, a Christian mediator and former National Rifle Assn. lobbyist, in Tuesday's Republican primary in District 71. Campbell, a two-term legislator, will face three new opponents Nov. 7.

Matchups for Orange County's seven state Assembly races in the general election:

* District 67. The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Andy Hilbert, an engineering firm manager from La Palma, and Libertarian Autumn Browne, a junior high school drama teacher who lives in Huntington Beach.

* District 68. Incumbent Assemblyman Ken Maddox (R-Garden Grove) was poised to fend off Democratic attorney Tina Louise Laine; Libertarian Richard G. Newhouse, an attorney and author; and Al Snook, 65, of the Reform Party, a businessman and teacher. All four live in Garden Grove.

* District 69. Incumbent Assemblyman Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) will battle Republican Lou Lopez, a retired Santa Ana police officer, and Brian Tuan Pham, a 25-year-old optometry student and member of the Natural Law Party.

* District 70. Contenders for the seat held by Marilyn C. Brewer (R-Newport Beach) are: Republican John Campbell, an Irvine car dealer; Democrat Merritt Lori McKeon, an attorney from Laguna Beach; Barry L. Katz of the Natural Law Party, a Tustin consultant; Reform Party member Raymond O. Mills, a taxi driver from Tustin; and Libertarian Bob Vondruska, a technician from Laguna Hills.

* District 71. Incumbent Campbell was poised to face Democratic activist and teacher Bea Foster of Tustin Hills; Brian Lee Cross, an Orange resident and chairman of the Orange County Libertarian Party; and Natural Law candidate Brenda Jo Bryant, a high school principal from Santa Ana.

* District 72. The winner of Tuesday's Republican primary will face Gangadharappa Nanjundappa, a Yorba Linda Democrat and sociology professor at Cal State Fullerton; and John W. Zamarra, a physician from Placentia and member of the Natural Law Party. This race is to succeed Ackerman, who is running for the state Senate.


Times staff writer Peter M. Warren contributed to this report.

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