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Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom more than doubled his lead over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler today in a race between two Democrats for a Los Angeles County Assembly seat.

New totals show Bloom with 89,705 votes, compared to Butler's 88,817 - a gap of a half percentage point. The two were separated by 430 votes Friday.

With vote counting nearly complete, the new tally appears to spell defeat for Butler, who is finishing her first term in the Assembly and was backed by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez for the newly drawn district.

Parke Skelton, Butler's campaign consultant, said only that "it doesn't look very good, obviously."

"The trend is certainly going very strong against Betsy," Skelton said.

Bloom said he is not sure how many votes are left to count. The day began with about 150,000 remaining countywide, but Bloom estimated that only 5,000 to 10,000 of them were from the 50th Assembly District.

Today's updating of the Bloom-Butler race reflected 4,412 ballots counted since Friday.

Bloom declined to declare victory, saying the contest remains close.

"All I can say is, it's looking better and better," he said.

The race will not affect Democrats' supermajority in the Assembly because no Republican qualified for the Nov. 6 runoff. Democrats will control 54 of 80 Assembly seats when the new legislative session begins Monday.



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