by Mitch Lehman
“I now have more free time to spend with my grandchildren,” Matthew Lin’s raspy voice replied, barely audible over the din of a wake that was evidently taking place at his soon-to-be-dismantled campaign headquarters yesterday afternoon.
Hours earlier, Lin – a former mayor and two-term San Marino City Councilman – circulated and posed for pictures among a large group of supporters as the four-point lead he enjoyed when the absentee ballot count was released turned completely upside down, eventually resulting in a 56% – 43% victory for Democrat Edwin Chau.
A registered Republican, Lin battled negative campaign tactics from his opponent that included accusations the existence of liens on Lin properties, non-payment of taxes and class warfare aimed at Lin’s landmark San Marino residence. The Social Security number of Lin’s wife, Joy, was leaked onto some of Chau’s hit pieces, spawning a restraining order against Chau and his campaign and forcing Joy Lin to purchase a special insurance policy to cover any damages that might arise should her privacy be breached.
In the end, Lin felt he was undone by those tactics and the proliferation of California’s unions.
“[The Chau campaign] was spreading a lot of rumors about me in Monterey Park and Alhambra,” Lin told The Tribune. “There was a rumor that [I] was telling police officers in Monterey Park and Alhambra to deport students who did not have proper residence papers. Elections are a totally different organism. The union members mobilized well against my campaign and I think I may have overlooked their power. I was wrong. Unions are very powerful and they control our state.”
His Republican declaration did him no favors in what has become one of the bluest of the blue states, and Lin said he was compared by his opponent to Pete Wilson and Mitt Romney.
“But I very much appreciate my friends, my supporters and my neighbors,” Lin said. “I can go on with my life and enjoy my own time.”
“Not really,” Lin replied. “I guess I didn’t work hard enough or I am not smart enough to win,” he quipped. “But I’m close.”
Later in the day, Lin released an official statement, expressing gratitude for “the opportunity to travel throughout the 49th Assembly District and meet thousands of our neighbors. I also want to thank my wife, Joy, and our family for fully supporting me during this journey. Their love and patience made all the difference in the world.”
All, but not quite enough.
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