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Kuehl, Pavley Big Winners

By Teresa Rochester

Assembly member Sheila Kuehl and former Agoura Hills Mayor Fran Pavley won decisive victories in Tuesday's primary elections, making them the frontrunners in the November races to represent Santa Monica in the State Senate and Assembly.

In an expensive primary battle that had two popular Westside liberals spending more than $1 million each to win the Democratic vote, Kuehl clobbered fellow assembly member Wally Knox in the senate race for the 23rd District.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Kuehl pulled in 89,759 votes, with Knox trailing far behind with 51,503. Kuehl will now go head to head in November with Republican challenger Daniel Rego, who ran uncontested and garnered 31,424 votes.

Term-limited out of the Assembly in November, Kuehl -- whose 41st District includes Santa Monica -- and Knox -- whose district includes Westwood -- both had the liberal credentials to replace state senator Tom Hayden. Hayden, who was term-limited out of his senate seat, announced earlier this year that he would not seek to return to Sacramento as a member of the assembly.

In a heavily contested bid to replace Kuehl, Fran Pavley, a former school teacher and California Coastal Commissioner, led the pack of five assembly member hopefuls with 18,461 votes.

With 99.7 percent of the precincts reporting, Pavley swept past challenger S. David Freeman, who had taken an early lead. The director of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Freeman, who had sent constituents a book about his philosophy and achievements, garnered 15,362 votes.

Former Santa Monica City Councilman Tony Vasquez finished third with 10,197 votes, followed by Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District Board of Education member Brenda Gottfried, who pulled in 8,406 votes. William (Bill) Wallace finished fifth with 3,875 votes.

Pavley will face Republican assembly hopeful Jane Murphy Shapiro in November. Shapiro won 71.1 percent of Republican votes with 22,370 votes in her race against Stefan "Stu" Stitch.

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