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McKeon, Rogers look to face off

25th District race whittled down to two candidates

Posted: June 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Buck and Patricia McKeon, right, watch election returns in their living room with friends and family at the McKeon's home in Valencia on Tuesday.

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The race for the 25th Congressional District came down to two positions this election — those for Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and “anti-Buck” voters opposed.

Whether those opposed to the incumbent Congressman voted for a Democrat alternative or for a challenging local Republican in Dante Acosta, the fight came down to pro-McKeon and anti-McKeon.

“I’ve done the polling, and I don’t see it,” McKeon said about anti-McKeon sentiment when asked about it.

“That’s what our polls show.  When I’m out there meeting people they say, ‘We love you.  We’ll vote for you.  We’ll vote for (wife) Patricia.”

McKeon and his wife — a candidate in the 38th Assembly District race — watched the election results from the comfort of their home on Timberline Terrace on Tuesday.

“I feel good,” McKeon said. “We’ve done everything we can, now it’s up to voters.”

When asked which opponent he would prefer to face after the primary, he said: “I feel good either way. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m assuming the Democrats will rally behind their candidate. I’m assuming it’ll be Dr. (Lee) Rogers.

Dr. Lee Rogers
Rogers, who hunkered down with supporters at the  El Trocadero Steakhouse on Main Street, in Newhall, said rumors pointed to him as McKeon’s opponent in November.

“We’re very excited,” he said. “We have the last minute jitters.  I’m anxious because its my first election.”

Rogers, the only Democrat contender in the congressional race, said he’s buoyed with party endorsements.

“What it comes down to is absentee ballots and people angry enough to go to the polls.

“I predict also that Dante Acosta will do much better than expected. You could argue he will take a significant number of Republican votes from McKeon,” he said, also predicting low voter turnout.

“The Republican numbers are pretty split.  If you believe what you hear there is a sentiment in Santa Clarita that is anti-Buck.  If it splits enough of the Republican vote that’s good for us.  That’s what we anticipate.”

Dante Acosta
Acosta, a senior financial adviser in Canyon Country, was still hitting the streets two hours before the polls closed.

Acosta supporters were out in force at the corner of McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard late Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, he was knocking on doors and making phone calls.

“I feel fantastic. Word on the street is that we’re going to do very well. We’re going to come out victorious.”

With his victory party scheduled to take place at Salt Creek Grille, Acosta took a moment to reflect on his chief opponent.

More than 50 supporters packed the restaurant’s patio well before any election results were tabulated, listening to 70’s easy rock music while Acosta mingled, shaking hands and slapping backs.

“There’s a lot of name recognition this election. So, we’re a bit disadvantaged by having to go up against an incumbent (McKeon) with big donations but they’ve been spending it,” he said.

“Obviously, if you can knock down an incumbent that would be the ideal. But, in practical terms, the two other people running against the incumbent are every bit as anxious as I am.”

Catherine Wright
Catherine Wright, the fourth candidate in the 25th Congressional District, spent election in the kitchen of her Simi Valley home.

“There’s nothing more I can do at this point,” she said Tuesday an hour before state officials started tabulating the vote.

“If it doesn’t turn out, we’ll be doing this same dance again two years from now,” she said. “You can’t quit.

“If somebody is going to believe in you, you’ve got to believe in yourself.”

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