California Sends Condit Packing; Novice Wins GOP Primary for Governor

For the first time in his political life, California Rep. Gary Condit is marking one off in the right-hand column, not only collecting his first loss but to former friend and protége state Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza.

Further south in the Pacific Palisades, the Republican gubernatorial candidate-elect, businessman Bill Simon, celebrated his upset of moderate former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

Simon, a political novice, came from 30 points behind a few weeks ago to overtake Riordan, who spent most of his time campaigning against Gov. Gray Davis. Davis, running nearly unopposed, easily won the Democratic nomination.

With all the votes tallied, Simon had 49 percent, Riordan had 31 percent and Secretary of State Bill Jones, who had a much smaller campaign, won 17 percent.

Cardoza beat Condit by 18 points with most of 18th Congressional District precincts counted. State Senator Dick Monteith won 60 percent of the Republican primary vote to face Cardoza in November.

"I believe he no longer can do his job effectively. He doesn't have the relationships with his colleagues or with the voters of this district," Cardoza said Tuesday night.

Condit's die was virtually cast in May 2001, when it was learned that the married 53-year-old had had an affair with his constituent, missing 24-year-old Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy.

Condit refused to discuss their relationship publicly, but Washington police sources said he admitted to an affair with Levy. Condit was not named as a suspect in her disappearance but the damage had been done.

Democratic supporters, including all but one of the California congressional delegation, fled from the six-term congressman, and his district was re-mapped so that 40 percent of Tuesday's voters had never cast a ballot for him before.

Condit returned to grassroots campaigning in what was previously referred to as Condit Country, knocking on doors, talking in coffee shops and greeting anyone who would reach out a hand.

After his loss Tuesday, Condit said he will actively serve out his term. There have been rumors the congressman might run as an independent, but in his concession speech Tuesday he avioded that subject.

"I want to thank all the people who volunteered for the campaign. This was a grassroots campaign, all the people standing behind me, a lot of people from the 18th district worked real hard and I would be remiss if I didn't thank them. I appreciate their support, their love, and I would like to thank my family standing behind me: my wife, my son, my mom and dad. Give them a hand."

Despite the hotly contested primary, election officials said voter turnout was extremely low and could be the worst in the state's history. It was California's first gubernatorial primary in March.

Simon, 50, an investor and son of Nixon and Ford Treasury Secretary William E Simon, appealed to the base of California's Republican party, a diminishing group of conservative-minded voters who were alienated by Riordan's support for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights.

Riordan, who attacked the party's core by telling them they needed to be more mainstream, plummeted in the polls as Davis poured nearly $10 million into a barrage of attack ads against him.

Riordan warned that Simon is too conservative to beat Davis in November's general election. California, which the Bush administration is at a loss to win over, has only one Republican in statewide office -- Secretary of State Jones -- and Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans.

For their part, Simon's backers questioned whether Riordan was a bona fide Republican and accused him of sacrificing party principles.

Meanwhile, in a newly created Los Angeles County congressional district, Democrat Linda Sanchez hoped to join her sister Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the House. If elected, they would be the first sisters to serve in Congress. Voters also weighed six propositions, including an initiative to soften the state's term limits law. That measure was defeated.

Fox News' Adam Housley and the Associated Press contributed to this report.