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Santa Monica Democrats Host Congressional Candidates' Forum

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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

March 19, 2014 --Voters will have a chance to hear from the 14 Democratic candidates vying to replace stalwart U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman at a Candidates' Forum in Santa Monica next week.

The forum hosted by the Santa Monica Democratic Club on Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at the Santa Monica Main Library Community Room will give candidates the chance to address the public and field questions.

The 14 Democratic candidates are among a total of 25 candidates vying to represent 33rd U.S. Congressional District, which includes Santa Monica and much of the Westside. Waxman announced in January that he would retire after 40 years in Congress.

The meeting will open with State Senator Ted Lieu, one of the 14 candidates invited to take part in the forum, giving a presentation on the state of the State Senate. 

Other invited candidates include former LA City Controller Wendy Greuel, journalist and host of NPR's “Left, Right and Center” Matt Miller, Human Rights Attorney Barbara Mulvaney and Educational Equality Advocate Zein Obagi Jr.  So far, only Lieu, Greuel, Mulvaney and Obagi have confirmed their attendance.

According to a February internal poll for Greuel's campaign, the former L.A. City Controller is currently the front runner with 29 percent of likely voters.  Lieu, who has since won the endorsement of the California Democratic Party, polled at 21 percent. 

Republican Elan Carr received 19 percent.  Twenty percent of voters remain undecided in Greuel’s poll.

The poll conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group surveyed 500 likely primary voters via telephone between February 12 and February 13.  It had a margin of error of 4.3 percent.

Other Democrats in the race are Vince Flaherty, David Kanuth, Michael Shapiro, Kristie Holmes, James Graf, Shelly Tobias, Derrick Ferree and Robert Baker. 

Also running are Republicans Patrick Kilpatrick, Lili Gilani and Kevin Mottus. Independents Tom Fox,  Brent Roske, Marianne Williamson and Charles Edward Lincoln III have also filed to run.  Mark Matthew Herd and Michael Ian Sachs, from the Libertarian and Green Party respectively, are also in the running.

Because representatives do not have to live in their own district, Democrat Karl Siganporia is running, even though he lives in Northern California.

The 33rd Congressional District stretches from West Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Malibu through the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Democrats outnumber Republicans within the district nearly 44 percent to 27 percent, with 18 percent of voters unaffiliated with any party, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office.

In his 40 years in Congress, Waxman cultivated a reputation as the liberal lion of the House. When Waxman announced his retirement last January, he created one of the most crowded California elections since the 2003 Recall of Governor Gray Davis. 

Under the state's open primary system, only the top two finishers in June, regardless of any party affiliation, will advance to the November general election.

Candidates who completed the filing process to run can't be assured a place on the ballot until their paperwork is checked by Los Angeles County elections officials and certified by the Secretary of State, whose deadline is March 27.

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