Parker (center) greets supporters during her Election Night party last night at the DoubleTree Hotel in Carson.
4:00pm | Star Parker (R) conceded her campaign for the 37th District seat in the House of Representatives to incumbent Laura Richardson (D) on Wednesday, after receiving just 22.7% of the total vote with all precincts reporting. The first-time candidate rode a small but passionate support base in a dominantly Democratic district, ultimately falling short.
“I have and will always be committed to the people of California’s 37th District,” Parker said in a statement today. “The residents of CA-37 have made their decision in a democracy that I respect. I will continue to actively fight for the residents of this district so that together we can build a brighter tomorrow.”
Parker made headlines for her personal life story of rising from poverty, drug use and several abortions to eventually find religion, reject welfare, earn a college degree and start her own non-profit organization. Her campaign gained support with endorsements from notable conservatives like former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. As a black female, supporters hoped she would be able to capture normally Democratic votes in the diverse district that encompasses Compton, Carson and Long Beach.
But voters ultimately re-elected Richardson to her second full term in the seat. Parker supporters expected different results following an expensive campaign that raised $1.1 million, more than twice Richardson’s reported total.
“I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to bring us to Election Day and who, I trust, will continue to fight for those values that we hold dear,” Parker said.
The campaign turned bitter toward the end, with Richardson last night calling it “the nastiest, most slanderous race in my eleven years I’ve ever participated in.” A television attack ad from the group Americans For Ethical Leadership ran $50,000 worth of attack ads about Richardson just days before the election. Since the group was formed after the information deadline of October 21, the group doesn’t have to provide donor information. But Richardson addressed the ad during her victory party in Long Beach last night, in a veiled but pointed response to Parker.
Singing “I Will Survive” before a cheering crowd of supporters, Richardson changed the lyrics around to include “You thought I’d crumble over $1.1 million?” and “You can’t buy elections anymore!”
Parker was also hit with a mailer entitled “10 Reasons NOT To Vote For Star Parker,” which was funded by the campaign to re-elect Richardson. Parker, a syndicated columnist and author of three books, promised to continue her efforts to improve the community.
“My message of freedom and individual responsibility is timeless and needs to be heard in Long Beach, Carson, Compton, Signal Hill and across the country more than ever before. I will continue to deliver that message.”
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