DOWNTOWN ¬ó Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-53) and Mayor Richard Bloom have inched closer to qualifying for a runoff election this November to determine who will represent Santa Monica in the new 50th Assembly District.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Butler, a resident of Marina del Rey, led the contest with 14,944 votes, or 25.99 percent of those counted so far. She picked up 1,267 more votes since Friday’s count, according to figures released by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office.

Bloom, who has served on the Santa Monica City Council for more than a decade, was in second with 14,622, or 25.43 percent of the votes, increasing his total by 1,080.

Santa Monica-based activist and former nonprofit director Torie Osborn jumped back into third place with 14,011 votes, while Republican attorney Bradley Torgan slipped back into fourth place with 13,932.

Osborn managed to pick up 1,200 more votes since Friday, leaving room for hope in such a close election. She told her supporters last week to keep the faith, but admitted that making up the difference in votes was not “highly probably.”

County officials would not disclose how many ballots remain to be counted in the 50th District. Last Thursday that number was 13,465. With the latest vote tally, it seems that number is now somewhere around 8,800.

A new vote tally is expected to be released Friday afternoon.

It was thought that Butler and Osborn, who raised considerably more money than Bloom or Torgan, would take the two top spots in the open primary and face off in what was sure to be a heated runoff to be held Nov. 6.

However, negative campaigning on behalf of Osborn, and the number of mailers sent to voters by both Osborn and Butler, may have shifted votes to Bloom, who stayed away from attacking his opponents and instead focused on his record on the City Council and his plan to create jobs and protect funding for education.

Torgan, a Republican, was always seen as a long shot given the district is dominated by Democrats.

The 50th’s boundaries were redrawn last summer by a citizens committee charged with overseeing redistricting. The district includes Santa Monica, Malibu, Agoura Hills, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and a large section of Hollywood.

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