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Muratsuchi Beats Huey to Win 66th Assembly District Seat

Democrat Al Muratsuchi won the seat by more than 10,000 votes.

With precincts reporting, Democrat Al Muratsuchi has beat opponent Craig Huey to win the 66th Assembly District seat by more than 10,000 votes.

The heated race, which saw both candidates throwing punches, was considered to be one of the closer races in the state for the California Assembly. Both candidates raised more than than $1 million during their campaigns with Muratsuchi raising $1.7 million and Huey raising $1.04 million, according to state campaign finance records.

Muratsuchi, a Torrance school board member and Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice declared his victory shortly after midnight Wednesday with a little more than 50 percent of precincts reporting. At that point, he led Huey 53.8 percent to 46.2 percent.

During an election night watch party in Torrance, Muratsuchi thanked his volunteers and supporters as the crowd danced a victory dance to the music of a D.J.

"We did it," Muratsuchi said to loud cheers. "I have said all along this is not my victory, this is not my cause-- this is our cause... This is a real team effort and we did it all together."

Muratsuchi also reminded supporters that although the campaign is over, there is still a long road ahead of them.

"We all know that the real work starts now," he said. "There is still work to be done up in Sacramento and we know it is not going to be a cakewalk...I am looking forward to working with all of you for a better South Bay and better California."

Earlier in the evening, opponent Craig Huey said that his campaign was remaining optimistic throughout the evening and knew it would be a close race.

"You take a look at the race... My belief is I am going to win despite the fact that I had $3 million spent against me by the special interests of Sacramento," Huey said.

Huey also said that the negativity of many campaign ads against him by Muratsuchi has helped him win at least a few Democratic voters.

"We got a lot of Democrats who called in and said they would vote for me because they can't stand that type of dirty politics," Huey said.

Now that he is elected, Muratsuchi said he will strive to work with both sides of the political spectrum.

"I really want to do what I have been campaigning on which is to reach out to both Republicans and Democrats to try and get more bipartisan cooperation," said Muratsuchi. "That is what I heard over and over on the campaign trail... People are sick and tired of partisan politics and they want to see more bipartisan cooperation. That is who I am and that is what the district is," he said.

Assembly District 66 encompasses Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance, Gardena and Lomita.

Editor's note: This page was updated throughout Election Day and night with background information on the race, interviews with the candidates, results and reaction. Check each update for a full recap of the 66th Assembly District race.

Update 12:05 a.m.

With a little more than 50 percent of the votes counted, Al Muratsuchi and his campaign have declared victory for themselves over Craig Huey. Muratsuchi currently leads the race 53.88 percent to Huey's 46.12 percent.

According to Muratsuchi's campaign manager Sergio Carillo, Huey would need to make a significant jump in the polls in order to win the election. While Carillo said the final results could get much closer, he said mathematically, Muratsuchi has won.

However, the Huey campaign has not conceded and said that there are still plenty of ballots to be counted and the results are still much too close to call the election.

In his victory speech to supporters, Muratsuchi once again thanked all his supporters and volunteers but said there is still work to do.

"We did it," Muratsuchi said to loud cheers. "I have said all along this is not my victory, this is not my cause-- this is our cause... This is a real team effort and we did it all together."

"We all know that the real work starts now," he said. "There is still work to be done up in Sacramento and we know it is not going to be a cakewalk...I am looking forward to working with all of you for a better South Bay and better California."

Update 11:30 p.m.

Al Muratsuchi has taken a five percent lead in the polls with 21 percent of precincts reporting. At his watch party, supporters clapped and cheered as they saw the results pop up on the screen.

"We are optimistic," Muratsuchi said shortly after the new numbers were announced.

Also attending the watch party was a group of high school students who volunteered with the campaign making phone calls from election headquarters.

"They really became the heart, soul and passion of our campaign," said Muratsuchi. "In this day and age of apathetic young folks when it comes to politics, they really felt good about being part of the campaign."

Muratsuchi also downplayed the negativity of the race between him and Huey saying that any negative ads were meant to simply inform voters.

"We knew from the get go that it was going to be one of the most competitive races in the state and we just felt the voters should know who their choices were," said Muratsuchi. "My opponent has been complaining about negative campaign ads, but he is the one that took the first swing... He has got to be able to take it if he is going to dish it out."

Although he was not yet declaring victory, Muratsuchi said that if elected tonight, he will make sure that he works with both sides of the political spectrum.

"I really want to do what I have been campaigning on which is to reach out to both Republicans and Democrats to try and get more bipartisan cooperation," said Muratsuchi. "That is what I heard over and over on the campaign trail... People are sick and tired of partisan politics and they want to see more bipartisan cooperation. That is who I am and that is what the district is," he said.

Update 10:15 p.m.

As of 10:30 p.m., with only 1 out of 275 precincts reporting, Muratsuchi holds a nominal lead over Huey by .10 percent.

At his election night watch party at the Torrance Buffalo Wild Wings, Republican Craig Huey addressed a party room packed full of supporters and warned them it could be a long night.

"We know it is going to be neck-and-neck and we aren't going to know for a while," said Huey. "We have lawyers ready to go... I hope we don't need it," he said.

Huey also thanked his volunteers and campaign team that have supported him.

"The real, real reason we are going to win this is because of all the volunteers... We have had thousands of people praying; we had over 2,000 donors," he said as he thanked everyone. "We had an enormous team poll watching, going door to door, driving people to the polls... so it was a huge grassroots effort."

Huey told Patch that while the race is very close, he expects he will win despite being outspent in the election.

"You take a look at the race... My belief is I am going to win despite the fact that I had $3 million spent against me by the special interests of Sacramento."

Huey also said that the negativity of many campaign ads against him by Muratsuchi has helped him with at least a few Democratic voters.

"We got a lot of Democrats who called in and said they would vote for me because they can't stand that type of dirty politics," Huey said. 

Update 9:00 p.m.

With all the polls in Los Angeles County now closed, the election parties are in full swing for Huey and Muratsuchi in Torrance.

At the Muratsuchi watch party at the Miyako Hybrid Hotel in Torrance, William Brown of Manhattan Beach stood among many other supporters wearing his campaign buttons and waving an American flag.

Brown, who identifies mostly with the Green Party said that he chose to support Muratsuchi because he said Craig Huey is simply too religious and too conservative for him.

"Craig Huey scared the living daylights out of me," said Brown. "He is like a Tea Party gazelle jumping around... He is very--considerably--conservative." 

Brown said that the past few years have caused him to be more politically active than he has ever been. He hopes that if Muratsuchi wins, he will be progressive in the State Assembly and continue social programs already in place in California.

Among other notable attendees at Muratsuchi's party was Hermosa Beach mayor Jeff Duclos.

Patch is now en route to the Craig Huey campaign watch party and will report back soon.

Update 4:30 p.m.

Some voters exiting polling places commented on the multiple mailers that both candidates have sent out in recent weeks.

Anita Skoot said that she received four mailers from Muratsuchi in one day.

"A lot of money was spent... A huge amount of money was spent," Skoot said. "Every day, my mailbox was packed."

Skoot also said that she is tired of Democratic leadership in California and hoped more Republicans would be voted in this year. "I do not want a Democratic government any more in California... I can't wait to leave, move away from here."

- Redondo Beach Patch editor Nicole Mooradian contributed this update.

Update 1:50 p.m.

Both candidates cast their votes this morning at their polling places and will now wait for the election results to come in.

Muratsuchi went to the polls with his wife and daughter and Huey voted with his wife, Shelly.

Both candidates will hold election night watch parties this evening starting at 8:30 p.m. with Muratsuchi watching results at the Miyako Hybrid Hotel in Torrance and Huey watching at the Buffalo Wild Wings at the Del Amo Mall in Torrance.

Polls in the South Bay close at 8:00 p.m.

Original Story

The 66th Assembly District race—a close race that has grown heated over the past few months—pits Torrance small business owner and Republican Craig Huey against Torrance school board member and Deputy Attorney General Al Muratsuchi.

They are seeking to represent the newly-created district that runs from Manhattan Beach to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Huey and Muratsuchi were the top-two finishers in the June primary. Muratsuchi finished slightly ahead in the June primary with 40.5 percent of the votes compared to Huey's 38.9 percent. There was no incumbent.

Many consider the district to be a swing district. A win by Muratsuchi, a Democrat, could bring Democrats one step closer to gaining a supermajority in the state Assembly.

Huey, a small business owner of more than 30 years, has been endorsed by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the California Small Business Association and the Torrance Police Officers Association, among others. 

Muratsuchi has been endorsed by the California Democratic Party, Congresswoman Janice Hahn and the California League of Conservation Voters, among others.

Assembly District 66 encompasses Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance, Gardena and Lomita. According to state records, 39.5 percent of voters in the district are registered Democrats, 33.9 percent are registered Republicans and 26.5 percent either declined to state their affiliation or align with another party.

66th State Assembly District Votes % Craig Huey  63,217  46.24 Al Muratsuchi  73,505  53.76

100% of precincts reporting.

 Previously:

  • 66th Assembly District Race Heats Up
  • Muratsuchi Announces Endorsements
  • Muratsuchi Emphasizes 'Proven Track Record'

Which candidate do you want to win this race and why? Tell us in the comments below.

Charles Nichols November 15, 2012 at 12:30 AM
78% of Muratsuchi's winning margin came from; Gardena, the Los Angeles 15th City District and West Carson. As of 11:33am on Election Day, Republican Vote by Mail returns were down 35.33% and the subsequent vote counts by the Registrar of Voters indicate that the Republican Poll voters stayed at home as well. This is what happens when there is a RINO running for President, an unknown senate candidate and no Republicans running for congress in the 66th. If half the Republicans who voted just two years ago had voted instead of sitting this election out then Muratsuchi would have lost and the Democrats would not now have their 2/3 supermajority they need to raise taxes without voter approval.

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