1987 California's 5th congressional district special election

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1987 California's 5th congressional district special election

← 1986 April 7, 1987 (primary)
June 2, 1987 (runoff)
1988 →

California's 5th congressional district
  Nancy Pelosi, official 101st Congress photo.png No image.svg
Candidate Nancy Pelosi Harriet Ross
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 46,428 22,478
Percentage 63.36% 30.68%

U.S. Representative before election

Sala Burton
Democratic

Elected U.S. Representative

Nancy Pelosi
Democratic

A special election to determine the member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 5th congressional district was held on April 7, 1987, with a runoff held two months later on June 2.

Incumbent Representative Sala Burton, who herself was elected during a special election following the previous incumbent's death, died on February 1, 1987, from colon cancer.[1] Her death triggered a special election, leading to multiple people running to finish her term. No candidate received a 50% election in the general, leading to a run-off which former California Democratic Party chair Nancy Pelosi won.[2]


Candidates

Fourteen candidates ran for the special election.

Democratic Party

Republican Party

  • Harriet Ross
  • Kevin W. Wadsworth
  • Tom Spinosa, World War II and Vietnam War veteran and San Francisco County Republican Party official[8]
  • Mike Garza

Libertarian Party

  • Sam Grove

Peace and Freedom Party

  • Theodore Zurr

Independents

  • Karen Edwards
  • Catherine Renee Sedwick

Special primaries

The special election primaries were held on April 7, 1987. Every candidate ran in a nonpartisan blanket primary. If a candidate won 50% of the vote, they would automatically fill in the vacant seat. If no candidate won 50% of the vote, a runoff would be triggered with the top candidates in each party advancing to the runoff.

1987 California's 5th congressional district special election[9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nancy Pelosi 38,927 36.12
Democratic Harry Britt 35,008 32.48
Democratic William Maher 15,355 14.25
Democratic Doris M. Ward 6,498 6.03
Republican Harriet Ross 3,016 2.8
Democratic Carol Ruth Silver 2,896 2.69
Republican Kevin W. Wadsworth 1,755 1.63
Republican Tom Spinosa 1,712 1.59
Republican Mike Garza 1,262 1.17
Independent Karen Edwards 447 0.42
Libertarian Sam Grove 408 0.38
Peace and Freedom Theodore Zurr 187 0.17
Independent Catherine Renee Sedwick 164 0.15
Democratic Brian Lantz 141 0.13
Total votes 107,776 100.0

Runoff election

The runoff election took place on June 2, 1987, with Nancy Pelosi gaining the majority of the vote, winning her the special election for Burton's seat.[2]

1987 California's 5th congressional district special general election[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Nancy Pelosi 46,428 63.36
Republican Harriet Ross 22,478 30.68
Independent Karen Edwards 1,602 2.19
Peace and Freedom Theodore Zurr 1,105 1.51
Libertarian Sam Grove 1,007 1.37
Independent Catherine Renee Sedwick 659 0.9
Total votes 73,279 100.0
Democratic hold


References

  1. ^ Morain, Dan (February 7, 1987). "Rep. Sala Burton, Who Replaced Husband in Congress, Dies at 61". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Democrat Elected in San Francisco". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 3, 1987. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  3. ^ "It began in Baltimore: The life and times of Nancy Pelosi". San Francisco Chronicle. January 2, 2007. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  4. ^ Faderman, Lillian (2015). The Gay Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 371–72. ISBN 978-1-4516-9411-6.
  5. ^ "Gay is expected to make strong run for House seat". San Jose Mercury News. February 10, 1987. pp. 1C.
  6. ^ a b c "Board of Supervisors: Past Supervisors". City and County of San Francisco. Archived from the original on November 14, 2008. Retrieved November 19, 2008.
  7. ^ Miller, Johnny (January 20, 2010) "Top cop shoots down supe on guns." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved June 3, 2015).
  8. ^ "Tom Spinosa Obituary (2008)". Legacy.com. San Francisco Chronicle. October 31, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  9. ^ "Our Campaigns - CA District 5 - Special Election Race - Apr 07, 1987". OurCampaign. July 12, 2020. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - CA District 5 - Special Runoff Race - Jun 02, 1987". OurCampaigns. April 18, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2021.