Friday, November 5, 2004
Escobedo Not Ready to Declare Victory, Nor Campbell To Concede, in Close Race for Open Court Seat
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Mildred Escobedo is not ready to declare victory in her close contest with Deputy District Attorney Patrick David Campbell for an open seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court, her campaign spokesman said yesterday.
“We think that statistically it would be hard for us to lose,” Montebello attorney Armando Duron told the MetNews. But Escobedo will not make a pronouncement about the race prior to seeing the direction of the counting of the remaining absentee and provisional ballots.
The race between Escobedo and Campbell for the seat being vacated by Judge Marcus Tucker was the only one of five contests not definitively settled by the time election workers went home at 4:13 a.m. Wednesday.
Escobedo led Campbell 1,018,927 to 1,001,340 in the final election day tally for the seat being given up by Judge Marcus Tucker. There are more than 200,000 absentee ballots and an undetermined number of provisional ballots still to be counted, a registrar’s spokesperson said, with the first updates due today.
Campbell was not conceding defeat, commenting that “if the [remaining] absentees come in like the earlier absentees, I will win by several thousand votes.”
Campbell had a healthy lead when the early arriving absentee ballots, the first to be counted, were tallied, and remained ahead for several hours before Escobedo caught up and eventually overtook him.
If the results hold up, Escobedo will be one of three subordinate judicial officers—Referee Daniel Zeke Zeidler and Commissioner Donna Groman are the others—to defeat prosecutors in this year’s runoffs. Zeidler defeated David Lopez and Groman beat Judith Levey Meyer.
Never in recent memory had a subordinate judicial officer won a countywide judicial race, nor had a candidate with the ballot designation “Criminal Prosecutor” or “Deputy District Attorney” lost to anyone other than a sitting judge.
With Deputy District Attorney Lori Jones losing to Deputy Attorney General Gus Gomez, Laura Priver was the only deputy district attorney to win. She defeated Workers’ Compensation Judge John Gutierrez.
Priver said she could only speculate as to why her colleagues did not win as well. Calling the result “very surprising,” she suggested that that with the development of the Internet, “commissioners and referees have a better way of communicating with the public.”
Priver said she had not had discussions with officials about possible assignments, although outgoing Presiding Judge Robert Dukes called to welcome her to the court. Assistant Presiding Judge William MacLaughlin will succeed Dukes Jan. 1, two days before Tuesday’s winners are sworn in .
Priver, who currently advises the criminal grand jury, noted that prosecutors are “sent all over the county and changing assignments all the time.” As a judge, she said, she will be “happy to go and serve wherever they need me.”
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company