Kathryn Barger, left, and Darrell Park, right, shown in April debate, will vie in November for supervisor seat being vacated after 36 years by Michael Antonovich. (Luis Sinco/ Los Angeles Times)
After weeks in limbo, the November field is set in the race to replace retiring Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, with a political neophyte facing off against the incumbent’s chief of staff.
Antonovich aide Kathryn Barger took a commanding lead over the seven other candidates, with 30% of the vote, but the No. 2 spot in the runoff was too close to call in early results, with thousands of provisional and late vote-by-mail ballots remaining to be counted.
In the final vote count released Friday, entrepreneur Darrell Park landed in the second spot with a little more than 15% of the vote, beating out the third-place finisher, state Sen. Bob Huff, by 2,826 votes.
Park, a former White House Office of Budget and Management staffer and entrepreneur, had never run for political office before and was outmatched in fundraising by better-known candidates, including Barger and Huff.
The two presented starkly different political philosophies — Huff was the most conservative Republican in the officially nonpartisan race and Park the most liberal Democrat.
Barger is a moderate Republican who has garnered significant support from labor groups that typically support Democrats, but Park said he plans to continue emphasizing party in the campaign, anticipating a surge of Democratic turnout in November.
“It’s the year of Trump, and Trump is the Republican nominee, so our job is to make clear that a choice on one side, it’s the party of Bernie and Hillary, and on the other side, it’s the party of Trump,” he said.
Huff said he thought the surge in Democratic registration due to the contest between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, and the fact that the Republican nomination was not in play, had played a role in the outcome of the primary. He said he had called to congratulate Park.
“It is what it is, so life goes on,” he said.
Antonovich has held the seat representing large sections of northern L.A. County, including the Antelope Valley, Glendale, Santa Clarita and parts of the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, for 36 years.
He is being forced out by term limits passed by voters in 2002 and is now running for a state Senate seat. Antonovich will face off against former Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino in November’s runoff.
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