The race for the 66th State Assembly District is a rematch of the June primary between Republican Craig Huey and Democrat Al Muratsuchi. In the primary, Muratsuchi, a state prosecutor and Torrance school board member, was the top vote-getter with 40.5 percent compared to 38.9 percent for Huey, who owns a Torrance marketing and advertising firm.
Muratsuchi and Huey beat out Republican Nathan Mintz, who had 20.6 percent of the vote. The top vote-getters earned the right to face each other in the Nov. 6 general election.
The new district runs from Manhattan Beach to Rancho Palos Verdes, including Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach as well as Gardena, Torrance and Lomita. According to state registration records, 39.1 percent of voters consider themselves Democrats while about 34.7 percent call themselves Republicans. The rest belong to a different political party or decline to state an affiliation.
The race is one of a handful of state races considered to be close enough to go either way, with both political parties pumping money to each of the candidates.
“The money is coming out of the woodwork,” said Bill MacAlpin, a political consultant and president of Redondo Beach-based AMAC Graphics that produces campaign literature for local city council and school district issues.
MacAlpin said the presidential race will affect the Assembly race. “It’s the swing vote that’s going to determine it,” MacAlpin said.
MacAlpin said that Muratsuchi has been mailing residents a steady stream of campaign literature presenting Huey as too conservative for the South Bay.
“There is so much of it,” MacAlpin said. “People get almost a piece a day. I don’t know if people actually sit down and read it… Muratsuchi has been slamming him an awful lot. Whether it’s true or not, Huey hasn’t done a lot of response to this stuff. It’ll be a huge turnout election.”
Huey said he doesn’t plan to counter-punch.
“I’m not going to do negative,” Huey said. “Al sends out mailers on national issues, on Medicare and Social Security, and it has nothing to do with Sacramento.”
After Muratsuchi produced a mailer accusing Huey of marketing a fake cure for Alzheimer’s and diabetes to senior citizens, Huey’s attorney sent a letter to his opponent demanding a retraction.
“It’s a lie,” Huey said about Muratsuchi’s mailer.
Muratsuchi stands by the mailer. “I think voters should know who they are voting for, and I believe one’s actions speak louder than words,” Muratsuchi said.
Huey said the only way he is going to win is to get independents and democrats to vote for him. Small business owners such as himself are needed in Sacramento where the Democrats control the Assembly, Huey said, adding that Muratsuchi as a career politician embodies the problem in Sacramento.
“Al has never created a job,” Huey said. “I’m a job creator.”
Muratsuchi touts his public service background.
“I have a record of being a problem solver, and not as an ideologue, whereas in contrast, my opponent is a Tea Party Republican with absolutely no public service background,” Muratsuchi said.
Muratsuchi has the edge in fundraising, according to campaign finance records.
From Jan. 1 to Oct. 20, Muratsuchi raised more than $1.7 million, according to the Secretary of State. From Jan. 1 to Oct. 20, Huey raised more than $1 million.
From Oct. 1 through Oct. 20, Muratsuchi raised more than $807,000, while Huey raised more than $255,000 during the same period.
Huey had $255,000 cash on hand after Oct. 20, and Muratsuchi had $371,000, according to campaign records. Huey has lent his campaign $100,000 of his own money, and Muratsuchi has lent his own campaign $45,000, the records showed.