Turnout low, expectations still high

By Joe Piasecki , Justin Chapman 06/08/2006

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Choices in the Pasadena-area races for Congress and state Assembly narrowed Tuesday, when Democratic voters selected Congressman Adam Schiff and Assembly hopeful Anthony Portantino to represent the party on the November ballot, while Green voters chose Assembly candidate Ricardo Costa.

Though Schiff defeated challenger Bob McCloskey with 82.5 percent of the vote, the anti-war McCloskey’s 6,292 votes was considered by some a strong showing for an under-funded candidate challenging an entrenched incumbent.

Schiff, who supports the war in Iraq, in November will face Green Party challenger and anti-war candidate Bill Paparian, who did not face competition in Tuesday’s primary.

Portantino defeated Adam Murray and the other candidates for Assembly with 42.9 percent of the vote. He will face Republican Scott Carwile and Costa, who defeated Koebel by 71 votes, in a campaign that promises to continue to be dominated by anti-war and anti-Bush administration sentiment.

Despite the energy surrounding these campaigns, voter turnout Tuesday for Democrats and Greens was light. Fewer than 30 percent of registered Democrats voted in their primaries, and fewer than 20 percent of registered Greens cast a vote in the Assembly race.

Throughout the primary campaign, McCloskey’s calls for an end to the war and criticism of Schiff’s support of it were echoed by the three Greens, and culminated Friday at Scott Methodist Church during a forum on nonviolence led by famed peace activist the Rev. James Lawson, who spoke about addressing poverty in order to combat violence.

Lawson invited each congressional candidate — except for Schiff, who did not attend —to share their vision for the nation.

Republican Bill Bodell, who faces Schiff and Paparian, was not well-received by audience members for his ideas about cracking down on illegal immigration and for suggesting spanking would help alleviate violence in the community at large.

McCloskey took a different tone.

“Not only must this war end, but all wars must end,” said McCloskey. “It’s time we stand up as a people and say we will

no longer support Democrats, Republicans, or any other politician that continues to work for the military-industrial complex and the corporations. It’s time to unite and build a real people’s movement, which we’re starting to do in this district and have been doing in this campaign.”

After the polls closed Tuesday, Paparian officially kicked off his campaign at the Pasadena Hilton, one of few unionized hotels in the area and traditionally the host of Democratic campaign parties.

Actor Ed Begley Jr., who has endorsed Paparian, spoke at the event.

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