California voters are sending an outspoken critic of President Bush to Congress to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Democratic Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald.

Assemblywoman Laura Richardson took 67 percent of the vote in Tuesday's special election in the heavily Democratic 37th Congressional District, which includes Long Beach, Carson and Compton.

Republican John Kanaley, a police officer and Iraq war veteran, was second with 25 percent of the vote, followed by Green Party member Daniel Brezenoff and Libertarian Herb Peters, according to unofficial returns.

Turnout was only 8.6 percent, according to election officials. With all precincts reporting, Richardson, a Democrat, had 14,105 votes to Kanaley's 5,309.

Richardson has pledged to get more government funding for work programs, such as Long Beach's Center for Working Families, and called for higher wages for teachers and remedies for disparities in the health care system.

She also has been openly critical of Bush, with letters on her campaign Web site slamming his education, health care and Iraq policies.

Millender-McDonald, 68, fought for electoral reform and reached new heights for a black congresswoman in seven terms serving Southern California. She died of cancer in April.