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A fight for the 38th District

Close results follow months of tough Assembly campaigning

Posted: June 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Scott Wilk joins supporters in watching early returns projected on a screen at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Tuesday. Scott Wilk joins supporters in watching early returns projected on a screen at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Tuesday.
Scott Wilk joins supporters in watching early returns projected on a screen at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Tuesday.

As the clock ticked down for those voting in Tuesday’s statewide  primary primary ballot, Santa Clarita Valley’s four contenders in the 38th Assembly District race reflected on a hard-fought campaign.

Two will win and advance to the general election in November, and two will lose.

By 5 p.m. Tuesday, with less then three hours of voting, Scott Wilk’s feet were sore and his voice raspy.

Through an arch of red, white and blue balloons, more than 150 “Got Wilk?” supporters mingled and made passing glances at results on big screen TVs.  

A weary Wilk, wearing a burgundy tie and dark charcoal suit, reminded supporters in the standing room only Valencia Ballroom that their campaign was a grassroots campaign.

“My throat is raw from being on the phone trying to convince voters to come out today,” he told The Signal from his campaign room at the Hyatt Regency Valencia.

“No one works harder than me,” he said. “And, even though I did not have the resources that Mrs. (Patricia) McKeon has, we were more effective with our resources.”

Patricia McKeon
McKeon turned out to be the only state assembly candidate choosing not to share her election night publicly.

Instead, she stayed inside and watched polling station results on TV with her incumbent Congressman husband, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita — she for Assembly race numbers, her husband for results of the 25th Congressional District.

The McKeons celebrated with 100 guests, monitoring the results on “satellite hook-ups and computers” throughout the house.

“I’m feeling great. I t’s always great when work comes to an end,” Patricia McKeon said, adding she presumes all the Democrats would be voting for Headington.

Since the outset of her campaign, McKeon enjoyed a war chest of campaign contribution that far out-paced the fund raising efforts of her opponents.

Although she admitted having no election experience, the 70-year-old grandmother remained undaunted in addressing pressing state issues publicly.

And, although she did not shy away from public forums, she announced in April that any further debates would be in front of Simi Valley voters.

Edward Headington
The local election’s only Democrat contender for assembly seat, Edward Headington, called debating publicly with McKeon the most pivotal point in his campaign.

Headington was the only local Assembly candidate to not watch election results in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Instead, he joined family and friends at the Los Toros Restaurant in Chatsworth.

“The three most pivotal things in my campaign were: one, the debate with patricia; two, the via chamber of commerce debate and three, the Signal endorsement,” he said Monday, predicting a low voter turnout.

“If push comes to shove, people will vote on name recognition,” he said. “They’ll vote for the name their familiar with which hurts Scott and me.  If they’ve heard that name (McKeon or Strickland) over the last 15 years, that’s how they’ll vote. I don’t know if I can overcome the threshold of name identification.”

Headington predicted name recognition would hurt both he and Wilk.

Paul Strickland
Paul Strickland, the fourth local candidate for state Assembly, said he’s confident he’s done a thorough job of letting voters know what he’s about and where he stands, reflecting on three months of regular public forums.

“The voters have a clear choice,” he said on the eve of the primary. “All the debates have clarified the positions of each candidate. Unfortunately, the debates were not very well attended.”

Strickland, 70, celebrated election night a block away from the Wilk camp at Sisley’s Restaurant, at Valencia Town Center mall.
About 30 faithful Strickland supporters tracked results on a computer at the restaurant.

Strickland, with his tie loosened and his jacket off, told supporters: “ I  tried to work above the fray. I hope that will be recognized.”
“My feeling now is essentially confident.  I feel good,” he said. “People understand where I’m coming from. I have three elections I’ve won.”

Asked about name recognition and about a McKeon mailer alerting people to the distinction between him and Congressional candidate Tony Strickland, Paul Strickland said: “I actually received (that mailer) at my house.  I think people understand me.”


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