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Major Seats on the Line in June 3 Election

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

May 21, 2014 -- With the voter registration deadline passing on Monday, candidates running for several major County, States and Federal seats are hitting the final stretch toward the June 3 Primary Election. At stake is a seat as a County supervisor that has been occupied by the same man for 20 years and another for a U.S. House seat that has been occupied by the same man for nearly 40 years.

For many Santa Monica residents, voting has already begun because more than 1.4 million absentee ballots were mailed to homes throughout the county earlier this month. More than half of Santa Monica residents who participated in the most recent major election in November 2012 voted absentee. County officials will begin counting absentee ballots May 27, although no results will be released until the official Election Day.

There are numerous races on the ballot, including one for governor. There are 15 candidates in the contest for the State’s top job, but all respected political observers say Gov. Jerry Brown will be the top vote-getter by a healthy margin. As is with the case with nearly all the races on the ballot, the top two vote-getters, regardless of political affiliation, will meet in the General Election in November.

Three races have received the most attention; all are for open seats because the incumbents have been termed-out or decided not to run for re-election. They are for the 3rd County Supervisor District, 26th State Senate District and the 33rd U.S. Congressional District. Santa Monica is located in all these districts.

County Supervisor Race

The contest for County supervisor features eight people competing for the seat that has been occupied by Zev Yaroslavsky since 1994. He is not running again due to term limits.

Political observers say the front-runners are former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver and former State legislator Sheila Kuehl, although West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran may have picked up some steam after receiving what some people considered to be a surprise endorsement from the Los Angeles Times. Also running is former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich.

Among the endorsements that have been issued in this race are four Santa Monica City Council members for Shriver, three Santa Monica council members for Kuehl, the Santa Monica Democratic Club and Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) for Kuehl and the Los Angeles Daily News for Shriver.

If any candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the person will be elected to the seat. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.

U.S. House Race

The contest for the 33rd Congressional District is a much-talked-about one due to the fact that incumbent Henry Waxman announced he would not run for another term after having been in office since 1975. Eighteen candidates are in the field, including former Los Angeles City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel and state Sen. Ted Lieu.

Political observers expect Greuel and Lieu, both Democrats, to be the top two vote-getters in the primary and meet in a one-on-one battle in November.

Among those backing Lieu are Santa Monica Councilmembers Ted Winterer, Kevin McKeown and Tony Vazquez.

Greuel has the support of Vazquez (he endorsed both candidates, according to their websites), Santa Monica Councilmember Gleam Davis and former Mayors Judy Abdo, Denny Zane and Paul Rosenstein as well as former Mayor and current Assemblymember Richard Bloom.

State Senate Race

As Lieu seeks a post in the federal government, his state Senate seat will be up for grabs in a contest featuring seven Democrats and one independent candidate.

Among those running for the position are local Board of Education member Ben Allen, former state Assemblymember Betsy Butler and Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth.

Also in the race is attorney Sandra Fluke, who gained national attention in 2012 when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh called her a negative name for females following her testimony to a Congressional committee about including birth control in insurance plans.

Allen, a Democrat, received the endorsement last week from the Santa Monica Democratic Club. He also received the backing of SMRR in March and has the support of five Santa Monica council members

Other Items on the Ballot

Assemblymember Bloom, a Democrat, is also on the ballot for his bid to serve another two-year term. His lone opponent is Republican Bradley Torgan, so both candidates will advance to the General Election. Political observers expect Bloom to win in November.

There are two State measures on the ballot. Proposition 41 calls for a $600 million bond that would provide affordable housing for veterans and their families, including homeless veterans.

Proposition 42 forces local governments to be in compliance with existing State laws requiring public access to meetings and documents, even though Sacramento is no longer reimbursing them for the costs.

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