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Decision set for Monday for election recount

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POSTED November 29, 2013 6:40 p.m.

SACRAMENTO (AP) — A candidate who narrowly lost a special legislative election said Friday that she is analyzing the final tally and will decide Monday whether to seek a recount.

The official canvass shows Republican Susan Shelley trailing Democrat Matt Dababneh by 329 votes in last week's election to fill the vacant Assembly District 45 seat. The district includes parts of the San Fernando Valley and a small part of Ventura County.

Her deadline to seek a recount normally would be Friday. But county elections officials told her she has until Monday because offices are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

She said she spent much of Wednesday talking with elections officials and getting voter data.

"We're reviewing everything now," she said in an email Friday.

A victory by Dababneh, a top aide to U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, would restore Assembly Democrats' two-thirds majority.

Democrats have a 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans in voter registration in the district, which includes the southwest San Fernando Valley communities of Encino, Northridge and West Hills, as well as the cities of Calabasas and Hidden Hills.

But Shelley did better than expected by making an issue of the Democrats' supermajority status, which gives them the ability to raise taxes. She also raised the specter of the Legislature trying to alter Proposition 13, the 1978 initiative that rolled back property tax levels and put a cap on how much they could rise each year.

The only Proposition 13- related changes being contemplated for next year are proposals to allow some local tax increase to pass with 55 percent of the vote rather than two-thirds. But even that change would have to be approved by voters on a statewide ballot.

Dababneh blamed the narrow margin on low turnout, with less than 11 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

The seat became vacant when incumbent Bob Blumenfield, a Democrat, resigned after winning election to the Los Angeles City Council this summer.

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