Former State Senate District 35 candidate Warren Furutani on Monday thanked his supporters and offered a detailed analysis of why he lost to Steve Bradford in the Nov. 8 election.
Both candidates are Democrats and former members of the State Assembly. Furutani previously served on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, and ran for Los Angeles City Council. Bradford previously served on the Gardena City Council.
The district includes Carson, Compton, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, part of Long Beach, San Pedro, part of Torrance, Watts and Willowbrook.
“I want to thank those of you who so generously invested both time and money in my hopes to get elected to the State Senate,” Furutani said in a message to his supporters. “And in the midst of this angst and turmoil I feel about the results on all levels, I am comforted by the support, generosity and friendship you shared with me.
“This campaign for State Senate was an almost two-year endeavor for Lisa and I. From the time the idea solidified in my head and heart I’ve been at the task of building this campaign.
“From the beginning I knew it would be an uphill battle but after doing my due diligence, talking to friends and advisors and doing a professional poll (two of them), a plausible path to victory revealed itself. That was the path we followed but unfortunately it didn’t culminate in a victory.
“We lost to Steve Bradford 54.32% (94,768 votes) to 45.68% (79,708 votes). There are several key reasons why this happened.
“The powers that be, the political leadership in Sacramento and locally, made a deal to support my opponent. Many did this before they knew I was going to run but still the deal was done. This meant no support was forthcoming from most of the political institutions that traditionally get involved in campaigns.
“This political fix was in at the Democratic Party level, where my opponent ultimately got the party endorsement. Although I secured the regional Democratic Party Club (grassroots) endorsements, their votes didn’t count at the State Party Convention. The party endorsement was critical in this Dem vs. Dem race.
“Although I was able to raise $480,000 for the primary and another $225,000 for the general from mostly individuals a la Bennie Sanders, I was always behind in resources. In a huge Senate district, having the dollars to get your message out is key.
“This was exacerbated by the amount of independent expenditures that came in on my opponent’s behalf. He received over $500,000 to my $100,000 from outside sources like the oil lobby (I don’t take oil money), tobacco companies (don’t take), Republican business interests and others who support moderate candidates over progressive ones. We have to fix this independent expenditure situation where there are no donation limits like on the national level with super-PACs by way of the Citizens United ruling.
“Ultimately, we were unable to get our message to enough voters to win.
“Where to go from here? While on the campaign trail I stated I was not done yet. I may be done with running for office (you never say never), but I’m not done with being a progressive political activist. No matter the vehicle, the need to be an agent for change to make our world a better place is a lifelong endeavor. And I look forward to continuing to do this with you.”