Droves of Armenians Take Part in Primary Elections

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

GLENDALE–The Armenian-American community–once again–turned out in droves to make its voice heard in the political process by participating in large numbers during Tuesday’s California Primary election–electing an Armenian-American candidate Craig Missakian to represent the community in the November State Assembly race.

The community was in a unique position by having two Armenian-Americans vying for party candidacies in the same State Assembly race. Both candidates were endorsed by the Armenian National Committee-Political Action Committee.

In the 43rd State Assembly race Democrat Paul Krekorian was defeated by fellow party member Dario Frommer by a mere 8 percent margin. Krekorian garnered 13,382 votes or 34.7 percent–while Frommer received 16,608 votes for 43.1 percent. A third candidate John Hisserich received 8,576 votes or 22 percent.

On the Republican side–Missakian won the party nomination with 13,930 votes or 49.5 percent–while his opponent Mark MacCarley received 9,925 votes and 35.2 percent. A third opponent Liz Michael received 4,318 votes or 15.3 percent.

Several factors were key in the races this year. Reports indicating that the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office was negligent in its response to absentee ballot requests from voters–affected the process. Countless voters who opted to vote absentee were deterred from voting since they were forced to cast provisional ballots on election. day.

In the 21st State Senate district race where two democrats Scott Wildaman and Jack Scott were pitted against each other–Scott took the lead 53,439 votes or 53.3 percent while Wildman–the ANC-PAC endorsed candidate and a long-time friend of the Armenian-American community trailed with 46,848 or 46.7 percent of the votes. Scott has also supported Armenian-American issues during his tenure as the Assemblyman from the 44th district and when he served as president of Pasadena City College. Scott will face Republican Paul Zee in November.

Two Congressional primary races were also the focus of attention for the Armenian-American community. The 31st Congressional district saw Democratic State Senator Hilda Solis go against incumbent Congressman Matthew Martinez. The ANC-PAC endorsed Solis won the primary with 44,085 or 68.8 percent of the votes–ending long-term Congressional career for Martinez who received 20,079 or 31.2 percent of the votes. Solis will face no Republican challenger in November.

In the 27th Congressional district incumbent Republican Congressman James Rogan was running un-opposed in his party and received 59,429 votes while his Democratic opponent–State Sen. Adam Schiff–who also was running un-opposed received 62,093 votes.

The focus of Tuesday’s primaries was on the four presidential candidates–Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley–and Republicans George W. Bush and John McCain.

The tone for the presidential race was set earlier in the day as results from 15 other states holding primary elections on Super Tuesday indicated a win for Vice-President Gore and Texas Governor Bush.

In California Gore garnered 2,369,332 votes or 34.5 percent while former New Jersey Senator Bradley lost by 579,303 or 8.5 percent of the votes. On the Republican side–Bush won the state by 1,940,201 votes or 28.3 percent while Arizona Senator McCain trailed closely by 1,599,318 or 23.3 percent of the votes.

Insiders on the Bradley camp indicated that he was scheduled to make an announcement Wednesday on ending his presidential bid.

The California primaries also saw several ballot measure up for referendum. Some of the hotly debated items were Prop. 22–the marriage measure and prop 26 the school bond tax measure. Prop. 22–defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman–won–while Prop. 26 did not receive the necessary votes.

Two proposition heavily backed by insurance companies were defeated–while a highly-publicized proposition on Indian gaming received support from a large number of voters.

The participation in the Super Tuesday California primaries was encouraging. The Armenian-American community’s continuing involvement in the electoral process signals that larger numbers should take part in the November vote–when Tuesday’s winners square off for the final showdown.

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