Democratic candidates Ted Lempert and Lou Papan were elected to the state Assembly by wide margins Tuesday, mirroring the success of other Democratic politicians in the area.
Lempert, who ran for the 21st Assembly, captured 73,206 votes with 89.5 percent precincts reporting, and Lou Papan, candidate for the 19th Assembly, received 65,259 votes will all precincts reporting.
Lempert's victory caps a successful tenure as a San Mateo County supervisor where he was known as a champion of the environment and welfare issues. He was particularly well liked on the coast where he was an early supporter of Measure T and a tunnel through Devil's Slide.
"I'm really grateful for the support I received," Lempert said Tuesday night, just before leaving for a Measure T victory party in Half Moon Bay.
"What I think I got through in this campaign . . . was I get things done," he said, pointing to his supervisorial record on Devil's Slide and welfare issues.
Lempert's opponent, Republican Ted Laliotis, charged that he was a "career politician" while he was the "Ted that worked." But Lempert said he too is sick of do-nothing politicians and cast himself as a "no nonsense" leader who does things differently.
His election to the Assembly takes him back to where he began his career in 1988 when he became the first Democrat to represent the 21st Assembly seat in over 100 years. When he returns to Sacramento, he hopes plans to put campaign finance reform and funding for a tunnel at the top of his list.
Laliotis said he was not paying attention to election returns Tuesday night take stock of the results Wednesday morning. "What ever it is, it is. We've got intelligent voters and I will respect their choice."
The numbers, whether he wanted to look at them or not, gave him 40,256 votes with 89.5 percent of precincts reporting.
Whether he won or lost, Laliotis said he felt honored to be in the race at all and that his candidacy was "living proof" that the American dream is alive and well.
Laliotis came to the United States as a 20-year-old immigrant from Greece and became a successful businessman and local politician.
As for his decision to make another run for the Assembly, Laliotis was keeping his options open.
"I wouldn't close the door but I won't make any commitments (now)."
The 21st District includes the Coastside south from El Granada to the county line.
Papan said his "direct contact" with voters was what gave him his victory Tuesday night.
"I walked 225 precincts," he said. As he pressed the flesh with voters he said he responded to a number of differently constituencies. He spoke with "frighteningly afraid" seniors who feared politicians in Washington were putting their welfare at risk and among young people he found a disturbing apprehension about job security. He said he would work hard to allay the fears of both these groups as an assemblyman.
Like Lempert, Papan's election marks his return to the Assembly where he served for 14 years 10 years ago. His strength he said was in bringing moderate Democrats and Republicans together.
"I was a consensus builder."
Papan said he can bring his experience to bear on providing funding for a tunnel through San Pedro Mountain. Although he never took a position on Measure T, he said he would do the public's bidding once they had spoken. And now that they have spoken loud and clear for a tunnel, he said he will work "diligently" to make it happen.
"There has to be a solution and there has to be a solution in short order . . . I will work very hard to do it."
Papan's Republican opponent Jim Tucker, who received 43,244 votes, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. His campaign manager Bob Jungbluth said he was not sure if Tucker would make another run for the seat.
"I think we're going to take a hard look at what happened," he said.
Natural Law Party candidate Linda Marks came in a distant third and received 8,103 votes.
The 19th Assembly District encompasses the northern portion of San Mateo County and includes Moss Beach and Montara.