Kathryn Barger will compete in a November runoff election to replace Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, likely against entrepreneur Darrell Park.
In other local contests, Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25) secured 49.2 percent of the voteTuesday and will face a runoff in November against Democrat Bryan Caforia (28.6 percent). Palmdale Assemblyman Tom Lackey (48.3 percent) will contest former assemblyman Steve Fox (29.7 percent) in November, while House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) easily defeated his challengers (51.7 percent) to retain his seat.
Barger easily led the field of eight candidates vying for the seat in Tuesday’s election, but she was well short of the 50 percent majority needed to win the Fifth District seat outright. Park and Sen. Bob Huff, (R-San Dimas), were locked in a tight duel for the second spot, but Park held a roughly 400-vote lead.
It wasn’t immediately known how many late or provisional ballots remained to be counted over the coming days, and whether they might affect the race for second place.
Only the top two vote-getters will move on to the November general election.
Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian settled in to fourth place. Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander’s narrow edge in campaign fundraising—with $1.3 million to Barger’s roughly $1.2 million—did not seem to translate into significant support in the hard-fought primary, as he finished in the middle of the pack, with Deputy District Attorney Elan Carr, Altadena Town Council member Billy Malone and real estate investor Rajpal Kahlon rounding out the field.
Antonovich—who will have served the district for 36 years before being forced out by term limits at the end of this year —had thrown his support behind Barger, his chief of staff. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and former Supervisor Gloria Molina also endorsed Barger, who had strong backing from
unions representing sheriff’s deputies and county firefighters, as well as the Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents most county employees.
The 5th District includes the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, along with a portion of the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys and foothills, an area widely viewed as more conservative than the balance of Los Angeles County. But eligible voters will come from wide-ranging communities with diverse concerns, from Porter Ranch to Palmdale.
Though it is a non-partisan seat, Antonovich may be the most conservative of the five supervisors and the race for his and Supervisor Don Knabe’s 4th District seats could significantly reconfigure the board’s politics. Of the board’s three liberal members, Kuehl and Hilda Solis aren’t up for re-election yet and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas ran unopposed.
Barger cited her deep knowledge of county matters and highlighted the fact that she’s not a career politician, while Najarian reminded voters of his work as board chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Association and record of creating jobs as mayor.
Politician or not, Barger garnered the backing of dozens of mayors, former mayors, council members and school district board members in the 5th District as well as from former Govs. George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson and former Reps. David Dreier and Gary Miller.
The unpredictable race could also upend the board in other ways. If front-runner Janice Hahn takes Knabe’s seat and Barger wins the hotly contested 5th District post, the next board could be four-fifths women.
The Board of Supervisors controls a $28.5 billion budget—larger than that of most states—and provides services to more than 10 million residents in 88 cities and unincorporated areas.