Doolittle glides to victory |

Doolittle glides to victory

(AP) – LOS ANGELES (AP) – Republican Rep. John Doolittle of Rocklin, whose close friendship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff brought him unwanted scrutiny, beat back a GOP primary challenge Tuesday from an opponent who highlighted ethics questions.

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Doolittle had 67 percent of the vote while Auburn Mayor Mike Holmes had 33 percent.

Holmes raised little money but sought to draw attention to ethics questions surrounding Doolittle and portray the incumbent as out-of-touch. Doolittle, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, denied wrongdoing amid reports that his ties with Abramoff had drawn the attention of federal investigators.

“It was a decisive victory, and we were seeking a decisive victory,” said Doolittle’s spokesman, Richard Robinson. “I think this victory sends a clear message to the Washington liberals that the voters in this district are not going to be swayed by smear tactics.”

On the Democratic side, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charlie Brown beat Lisa Rea and Mike Hamersley. With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Brown had 46 percent of the vote while Rea had 33 percent and Hamersley 21 percent.

Doolittle was favored to win the November general election in his conservative 4th Congressional District.

Meanwhile, California saw a tight race between the two Democrats hoping to challenge GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. With a third of precincts reporting, state Treasurer Phil Angelides had 490,906 votes, or 47 percent, to Controller Steve Westly’s 458,706 votes, or 44 percent.

Schwarzenegger won the GOP nomination with only token opposition, while Angelides and Westly fought a close and nasty contest for the Democratic nomination that left many voters dismayed.

Several House incumbents who were leading against primary challenges included GOP Rep. Richard Pombo and hawkish Democratic Rep. Jane Harman, both of California.

Hollywood director Rob Reiner was the leading backer of a measure in California to

create a $2.4 billion universal preschool program, which went down to defeat by a 60-to-40-percent margin.

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