James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/22/2010 05:57:53 PM PDT

In the most unexpected outcome of this month’s primary election, political neophyte and former Minuteman Tim Donnelly is the winner in the 59th State Assembly District Republican Primary.

Final vote tallies show Donnelly with 12,211 votes, ahead of candidate Chris Lancaster by just 484 votes – about 1 percent of the total votes cast in the Republican primary.

“Am I disappointed? Absolutely,” said Lancaster, an executive with the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a sister paper of The Sun. “But I’m very happy for Tim and I wish him the very best. He has my full support.”

He called Donnelly on Tuesday afternoon to concede.

“He was quite a gentleman and very generously offered his support,” Donnelly said. “I look forward to working together to defeat the Democrat.”

Donnelly held a lead of just 40 votes after election night, but that lead changed several times over the past two weeks as election officials processed thousands of uncounted ballots.

Donnelly, who has never before run for public office, spent about $20,000 on the campaign, compared to more than $160,000 spent by Lancaster.

Lancaster, the son of a former state legislator, had run for the seat before and had more support than Donnelly in the Los Angeles County side of the district, which stretches from Apple Valley to west of Pasadena.

But Donnelly, who had support from several conservative Tea Party groups, proved more popular in San Bernardino County. Political observers say Donnelly’s status as an outsider was a key to his success.

“It tells you voters are rejecting the status quo, and I think Lancaster stood for that, being the son of a politician,” said Linda S. Boyd of Glendora, the former chairwoman of the Republican Central Committee of Los Angeles County.

“That attitude is definitely out there.”

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