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SACRAMENTO � A leader of the Consumer Attorneys of California said his members are “overwhelmingly” pleased with Tuesday’s legislative election returns, which included the defeat of two moderate Democrats targeted by the plaintiff bar. “I couldn’t be much happier,” said Raymond Boucher, the Consumer Attorneys’ president-elect. The results, he said, “put us and other consumer groups in a position to get our legislation passed” when new members take their seats in December. While Boucher’s comments probably contain a bit of spin � the group poured thousands of dollars into a handful of state races where their favored candidates lost � it’s clear the outcome could have been much worse for the trial lawyers. Business-backed candidates won three of six hotly contested state Senate Democratic primaries, easing lawyers’ fears that moderates would take all six races and turn the now-liberal Senate into a hostile house. A fourth race, to replace the liberal Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Whittier, is too close to call with thousands of ballots still uncounted. Tort reformers declared victory in the Senate’s apparent shift to the political right. “We moved in the direction we hoped for in our long-term plans, which is to increase our support in the Senate,” said John Sullivan, president of the Civil Justice Association of California. “On the defensive side, we certainly hope we’ll have to spend less money defeating bad ideas.” Consumer Attorneys’ allies fared better in the Assembly, where Boucher claimed pick-ups of six or seven seats. Moderate Assembly Democrats have served as the foil to many legislative efforts by trial lawyers and labor unions in recent years. “I’d say there was an overwhelmingly positive shift in the Assembly,” Boucher said. But clearly the Consumer Attorneys’ biggest win came in the East Bay’s 10th Senate District, where Sturdevant Law Firm counsel Ellen Corbetttrounced former Assemblyman John Dutrain the Democratic primary. Groups allied with the two candidates, including trial lawyers backing Corbett and business interests friendly to Dutra, spent an estimated $1.5 millionflooding district mailboxes and airwaves with political ads � most of them on the attack. “It was just ungodly,” Boucher said of the spending. “That was a real critical test because it was purely trial lawyers and the California League of Conservation Lawyers against the business community.” The Consumer Attorneys also celebrated the victory of Long Beach Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza over former Assemblyman George Nakano in the 28th Senate District Democratic primary. Trial lawyers will lose two Orange County Democratic allies in state Sen. Joe Dunn, who lost his bid for state controller, and Assemblyman Tom Umberg, a Morrison & Foerster partner. Umberg was defeated in his campaign to succeed the termed-out Dunn by moderate Democrat Lou Correa. But with Dutra and Nakano defeated, Boucher said attorneys are in a better position to work with the rest of the winning candidates. “I don’t think that any of the people elected in the Senate have the ideological backbone that Dutra and Nakano had.” With almost all of California’s legislative districts drawn to favor one political party, most statehouse races were decided on Tuesday. One contest that just began this week is the race for attorney general. As expected, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brownhandily defeated Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard “Rocky” Delgadillo in the Democratic primary. Brown now faces state Sen. Charles “Chuck” Poochigian, R-Fresno, who was uncontested Tuesday. Both men have amassed huge war chests � Brown more than $4 million, Poochigian about $3 million. And both candidates seem ready to run on the record: Jerry Brown’s record. Poochigian aides are already portraying Brown as an “erratic, unpredictable” politician with a colorful past as secretary of state, governor, presidential candidate and now mayor of a city with a soaring homicide rate. “The good news for Jerry is that he’s well-known, and the bad news for Jerry is that he’s well-known,” said Poochigian strategist Ken Khachigian. Name recognition is something Poochigian doesn’t have. Poochigian worked in the Deukmejian and Wilson administrations and served 12 years in the Legislature. But an April Field Poll showed that 83 percent of likely voters had no opinion of him. “That’s what we have five months to fix,” Khachigian said. For his part, Brown campaigned up and down the state this week, visiting Poochigian’s home base of Fresno, where the Democrat received the endorsement of the police officers’ union. “If [Poochigian] thinks he’s going to campaign on Jerry’s record, he’s got another thing coming,” said Brown spokesman Ace Smith. “We’re going to be telling voters about hisrecord � The man is a conservative partisan completely out of step on the issues.”

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