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In a stunning upset, Democrat Steve Fox defeated Republican Ron Smith to become the next assemblymember for California's 36th State Assembly district. Democrats now have 55 seats, giving them a one-seat cushion to their supermajority (two-thirds being 54 seats).

After a final update from Los Angeles County, the vote count stands at

Steve Fox (D) 66,005 50.05%
Ron Smith (R) 65,860 49.95%
The 36th district is centered in northern Los Angeles County and southeastern Kern County. The Antelope Valley, consisting of Lancaster and Palmdale, form the bulk of the district. No Democrat has represented this area at the state legislative or congressional level in recent memory.

The significance of this win probably surpasses that of Sharon Quirk-Silva in AD-65 (Fullerton/Buena Park). Whereas Quirk-Silva was the mayor of Fullerton, Steve Fox was really a Some Dude candidate who managed to sneak up from behind.

A cursory look at their websites shows a stark contrast between the two candidates. Compare: the establishment candidate and presumed winner Ron Smith and the actual winner Steve Fox.

Or look at their campaign finance records. Republican Ron Smith raised almost $265,000, an average amount for an noncompetitive race. Democrat Steve Fox raised around $21,000. No, that's not a typo.

Here's another thing about Fox. He ran in the Republican primary in 2008 for this seat, coming in last place (out of three candidates) and losing to Steve Knight, who vacated this seat for a somewhat safer one in the state senate. While Democrats should welcome Fox into the fold, we must also remind him how he got to Sacramento: on the votes of Democrats and liberal-leaning independents who want to see Democratic principles leading our state back into prosperity.

California Democrats have won seats and expanded the map far beyond their wildest dreams this election cycle. Let's keep that up and keep it going.

4:20 PM PT Update: The last Democrat to represent this area was Larry Chimbole, who represented what was then AD-34 (Antelope Valley/High Desert) from 1974 to 1978.

Strangely and perhaps ominously, Fox signed the no-tax pledge but supported Prop 30.

6:52 PM PT: Another weird tidbit: Steve Fox was a former Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center trustee that was recalled in 1992. He is also a former Antelope Valley College trustee. So he's not a complete Some Dude candidate.


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