The last votes finally have been counted, and Raul Bocanegra — who co-authored the bill to increase California’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program this year — has gone down to defeat. The final tally in the race to represent California’s 39th Assembly District shows political newcomer Patty Lopez receiving 22,750 votes to Bocanegra’s 22,283. All that remains is for the Secretary of State to certify the election results, considered a mere formality.
On Election Night, Bocanegra trailed by 184 votes, with several thousand mail-in and provisional ballots still to be counted. In the ensuing days, Bocanegra narrowed the gap to just seven votes, but as the counting continued, Lopez’s lead continued to widen. In the end, she won by 467 votes, or 1% of all the ballots cast – one of the closest races in the state.
Bocanegra’s support for film incentives made him a Hollywood favorite and left many pundits scratching their heads that an incumbent could lose to Lopez, a total unknown who describes herself on her website as wife, grandmother and community organizer. The San Fernando Valley district covers North Hollywood, Sylmar, Pacoima and Sunland-Tujunga.
Bocanegra and fellow Democrat Mike Gatto introduced AB 1839 in February with more than 50 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. The bill to overhaul the state’s production incentives program arrived with no dollar figure attached but wasnegotiated up to $400 million before Sacramento pols and Governor Jerry Brown settled on a final figure of $330 million. Brown signed the bill in September.