Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, who co-authored legislation that expands and extends California’s film and TV production tax credit, conceded his re-election race in a surprise defeat to political novice Patty Lopez.
The final vote tally from the Los Angeles Registrar Recorder showed Lopez with a slim 467-vote lead over Bocanegra, whose district includes the east San Fernando Valley. She had a slight, 182-vote lead over Bocanegra on election night, but he had hoped that absentee and provisional ballots would put him over the top.
“While the vote tally is incredibly close, it is clear that my opponent will be victorious by the narrowest of margins,” Bocanegra said in a statement. “Although many residents and community leaders throughout the 39th Assembly District have urged me to undertake a recount, I do not want to put the state — and particularly the residents of the Northeast San Fernando Valley — through such a costly and time-consuming process.”
Lopez, a fellow Democrat who had worked as a community representative for the North Valley Occupational Center, spent little on her race, and her victory is perhaps the biggest upset in the state in this year’s midterms. She campaigned heavily on education, but has said that she also supported the tax incentives bill that Bocanegra co-authored with Assemblyman Mike Gatto. The legislation, AB 1839, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September. It more than triples the amount of annual tax credits available to producers, to $330 million.
There are several theories for Bocaengra’s surprise loss, including low turnout and the design of the ballot, which put Lopez’s name on top after also listing Democrats in other races before the Republican candidate.