U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon
If the congressional race worked the same way as the supervisorial race, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon would be all done campaigning in 2012 because he captured just over 50 percent of the vote Tuesday night: 50.2 percent, to be precise.
But it doesn’t work that way.
Under California’s new “top two” primary election system – just as he would have done under the old system – he’ll face his Democratic challenger in a November runoff.
That person is Simi Valley podiatrist Lee C. Rogers, who finished second in the four-way race with 30.2 percent of the vote.
Two other first-time Republican candidates finished out of the running: Dante Acosta of Canyon Country with 12.9 percent and Victoria Catherine Wright of Simi Valley with 6.7 percent.
Democratic nominee Lee Rogers casts his ballot Tuesday in Simi Valley.
McKeon, who is seeking his 11th term in Congress, assumed the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee when the Republicans gained control of the House in the 2010 elections. He represents a geographically vast and heavily conservative district that includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys and portions of the San Fernando Valley. The district was redrawn after the last census to include Simi Valley.
McKeon faced his most contentious challenge to date this year when Acosta, the Gold Star father of Army Spc. Rudy Acosta, entered the race. Rudy Acosta was killed in Afghanistan by an insurgent masquerading as a guard. Acosta had lobbied McKeon to change military policy and prohibit Afghan nationals from guarding U.S. troops.
McKeon questioned military brass to unsatisfactory result – unsatisfactory both to McKeon and to Acosta, who believed McKeon wasn’t sufficiently proactive.
Acosta holds his own campaign sign at Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway on Tuesday. Photo by Larry McClements.
Both Acosta and Rogers made a campaign issue of the city of Santa Clarita’s fight to block the proposed Cemex sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon. McKeon has introduced a half-dozen bills over the past decade to cancel the mining contracts but declined to do so for a seventh time this year because House leadership determined it would be an earmark (i.e., pork), on grounds that the legislation would provide a monetary benefit to the 25th District at the federal government’s expense. McKeon and other Republicans oppose all earmarks.
For her part, Wright is a first-time candidate whose mother, former state Sen. Cathie Wright, died during the campaign. Known previously as Vicki, the younger Wright used a derivative of her middle name, Cathie, on the ballot.
Acosta on election night
Rogers on election night at El Trocadero restaurant in Newhall with statistician Tim Myers