Fox Defies Political Odds And Conventional Wisdom With Victory In 36th

(December 7)   A month after the polls closed on November 6, newly-minted Democrat Steve Fox has secured what not only seemed to be the unlikeliest of victories but the narrowest one for state office this year, with the final tally by California Secretary of State Deborah Bowen giving him a margin of just 145 votes over his opponent, Republican Ron Smith, in the 36th Assembly District.
A portion of the 36th lies within San Bernardino County, the communities of Phelan, Wrightwood and Pinon Hills, specifically.
Fox seemed to be at a decided disadvantage. First, party registration in the 36th slightly favors Republicans. Second, Fox was seen as something of a turncoat, having previously run for the Assembly as a Republican. And in the June primary, Fox, with 14,150 votes or 32.9 percent, had lost to Smith, who drew 15,097 votes, or 35.1 percent. The other candidate in the race, Tom Lackey, also a Republican, had pulled down 13,795 votes or 32 percent.
With the first tally of votes on November 6, Smith led Fox by more than 2,000 votes.
On the basis of the distance between them, Smith was early on deemed the victor. In Sacramento, the Assembly staff assigned an office to Smith. He was further enshrined as a member of the legislature when his photo was posted on the wall of the Capital building leading to the Assembly meeting chambers. Smith named a chief of staff and most of his office workers.
But throughout November as late sent mail and absentee votes came in and provisional ballots were counted, Fox began to close the gap. With the final tally of votes from Los Angeles County this week, Fox eclipsed Smith.
In both San Bernardino and Inyo Counties, Smith trounced Fox. In Kern, Smith gathered 6,691 votes or 59.1 percent to Fox’s 4,631 votes or 40.9 percent.  In San Bernardino County, Smith fared even better, capturing 4,343 votes or 67.5 percent to Fox’s 2,092 votes or 32.5 percent.  But in Los Angeles County, where the lion’s share of the 36th District’s voters reside, Fox outpolled Smith 59,282 votes or 52 percent to 54,826 or 48 percent. According to the Secretary of State, Fox, a lawyer and teacher from the Antelope Valley, outdistanced Smith, a city councilman in Lancaster, 66,005 votes or 50.1 percent to 65,860 or 49.9 percent.

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