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Socialist Candidate Drew Votes on Merits

October 17, 2003

After reporting on Oct. 9 that radio commentator Van Vo finished 15th statewide among the 135 replacement candidates because of a following among the Orange County Vietnamese community, your story "For 130, It's Not Whether You Win or Lose" commented that "John Burton and Edward Kennedy ... managed to finish in the top 25. But there was no way of determining how many of their supporters, if any, might have confused them with their famous namesakes."

In the final results, I finished 14th overall -- just behind Vo, who finished 13th -- because of support for the socialist policies on which I campaigned. Had I benefited from name confusion, I would certainly have received an inordinate number of votes in San Francisco, where state Sen. John L. Burton and his late brother, Phillip, have been Democratic Party icons for decades. I finished 13th in San Francisco; however, in Los Angeles County, where my campaign was concentrated, I finished 11th. Moreover, I ran as "John Christopher Burton" especially to avoid confusion, and my party listing was "independent."

In contrast, Edward Thomas Kennedy, who has a far more famous namesake and identifies himself as a Democrat, received less than one-half my vote total. Were our totals caused by name confusion, he would have had a total greater or one at least similar to mine.

I was endorsed by the Socialist Equality Party. My vote total reflects support for opposition to the policies of militarism, austerity and repression that dominate the programs of both major parties.

John Christopher Burton

Pasadena

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