Barger Eyes Supervisor’s Seat

With 36.98% of precincts reporting, San Marino resident Kathryn Barger began Wednesday forecasted to have been elected as the next Los Angeles County supervisor for District 5.
She was surrounded by her family of supporters in the Rococo Room at Café Santorini in Pasadena when the results started rolling in Tuesday night. The party began with a cheery atmosphere that seeped into the streets of Pasadena as Barger embraced her friends, was blinded by the lights of camera flashes and sipped the beverage in her hand. The night capped nearly a year-and-a-half of official campaign time.
Barger, as of 11:40 p.m. on Election Day, had garnered 100,578 votes against challenger Darrell Park’s 63,926 votes, according to the county’s official website. If those results hold, Barger looks to succeed term-limited Mike Antonovich after 36 years in office.
“I’m going into work tomorrow,” Barger said Tuesday night on looking toward Wednesday morning. “I can’t wait to get back to work. I’ve got 30 days to get things together. I’m just excited. When I said I would hit the ground running, I really meant that I was going to hit the ground running.”
Barger, who worked for Antonovich for 28 years, may inherit a district boxed by Ventura County to the west, Kern County to the north, San Bernardino County to the east and reaching south to the northern San Gabriel Valley, the Burbank-Glendale area and Sylmar and Chatsworth. Geographically, it is the largest of L.A. County’s five supervisor districts.
Barger’s first-place showing is her second this year: she took the lead in June’s primary race with more than 105,000 votes. Park finished second in that primary with more than 55,000.
When she woke up Tuesday morning, after the almost 18-month campaign, Barger said she kept a level attitude, got ready for her day and got herself to her polling location. Asked what was different about the day, she had a simple answer.
“Nothing,” she said. “I’ve given it 110%. There’s nothing I would change. I held my head high.”
In the months leading up to the election, Barger had garnered a variety of bipartisan support, beginning of course with Antonovich. State Sen. Bob Huff, Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander and prosecutor Elan Carr, each of whom competed in the primary, endorsed Barger.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Times newspaper had also endorsed Barger.
Although the seat is conventionally nonpartisan, this race en tered those choppy waters when Park touted his membership with the Democratic Party and also tried tying Barger to the GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trump. She later deflected those ties and did her part to keep partisanship free of the race.
“What I’ve said all along is, it’s not about Republicans and Democrats,” she said Tuesday. “It’s about the 5th District. My coalition reflects how I work.”
Barger, citing her experience working as Antonovich’s chief deputy, has focused on laws and programs combating mental health issues spanning L.A. County during her campaign, especially among the county’s homeless population.
She also has mentioned community safety, natural resource and environment protection and improvements to traffic infrastructure. Barger had previously declared support for Measure M, a half-cent sales tax predicted to generate $120 billion total for transit expansion. As of press time, support for that item was at 68.65% with 609,253 votes (35.24% of those precincts were reporting at the time).
On Tuesday night, Barger spoke hopefully about being able to lay the foundation for this measure to take effect. She admitted admiring the public transportation infrastructure in other metropolitan areas nationwide that left Southern California longing.
“This is like building transportation for the next generation,” she said. “We don’t really have it and we have to invest in it.”
The lifelong San Marino resident also has extolled her familiarity with district-specific issues thanks to her nearly three decades of work for its supervisor. She made it a point to mention the wide variety of demographics that make up the 1.95 million residents of her district.
“It’s so diverse,” she said. “That’s what’s helped me in this, is that I understand the diversity we have.”
The seat’s four-year term will begin in January and last through 2020, at which time the victor could run for re-election. For a more thorough voting breakdown, visit
Park could not be reached for comment before press time.

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