Update: Wednesday, 11:40 a.m.
With 100 percent of the 299 precincts reported, Richard Bloom is ahead by just 218 votes, with a total of 69,280. However, some absentee and provisional ballots have yet to be counted. An update on the numbers will be released on Friday, and final results will be available in early December.
This closely-contested race is unique as it is the only one in the 28 contested state legislative and congressional districts in California to have candidates from the same party – both are Democrats.
Incumbent Betsy Butler is up against Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom. She has raised more than $1 million in campaign funds, about twice as much as Bloom.
"After a grueling campaign, Mayor Bloom and his family were up all night watching the election results come in. Today, he is trying to get some badly needed rest," said Brian Adams, Bloom's campaign manager, in a statement. "Mayor Bloom wants to thank his supporters, volunteers and staff. He finished the night ahead by 218 votes, but the process is not yet complete. Votes will be counted for the next 2 weeks and he, along with many others, will follow the count closely and optimistically."
Though she was trailing Bloom late Tuesday night, Butler said she wasn't worried about the race's outcome.
"Considering how Democrats have done across the country today, I'm quite fortified and thrilled with what's happened," she said, adding she hopes the Democratic values will "carry through."
Jay Day, Butler's campaign manager, predicted election day votes would put the assemblywoman ahead of Bloom.
Butler's supporters gathered at an election party Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton.
"She's been an incredible, effective legislator," Kimberly Ray, a friend of Butler's, said. "She's a really honest, hard working, dedicated legislator."
Ray also remained optimistic that Butler would defeat Bloom.
"All of her elections have been like this," she said. "[They've] always been down to the bitter end, or the happy ending."
Butler has been endorsed by the L.A. County and California Democratic Party, while Bloom has been endorsed mostly by local organizations, such as the Santa Monica and Beverly Hills firefighter’s associations.
"I’m feeling very optimistic. We’ve been out in the field now for months going door-to-door and on the telephones. And we have had uniformly a positive response to the campaign," Bloom said on Monday. "People have, in overwhelming numbers, been telling us that they’re going to vote for me, and so I’m really gratified by the response and hoping things go well tomorrow and follow suit."
District 50 encompasses Santa Monica, Malibu, Brentwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Carthay Square, West Hollywood, much of Hollywood, Hancock Park, Miracle Mile, as well as Pacific Palisades, Topanga, part of the Santa Monica Mountains and Agoura Hills.
Which candidate do you want to win this race and why? Tell us in the comments below.
Patch Editors Marie Cunningham and Meredith Skrzypczak contributed to this report.