Voters will finally have their say today in a wide-open race to replace the retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Beverly Hills, with more than a dozen people vying to take his seat in Congress.
Eighteen candidates are listed on the ballot in hopes of representing the 33rd Congressional District. The district is one of the most affluent in the nation, including areas such as Santa Monica, Malibu, Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Palos Verdes.
The district is also one of the most liberal in the country -- hence the 10 Democrats in the field versus just three Republicans.
Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and former Los Angeles City Controller and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel are perhaps the most well-known politicians in the race, although self-help author Marianne Williamson, running as an Independent, has a slight celebrity benefit.
Radio host Matt Miller, who also worked as a budget adviser in President Bill Clinton's administration, scored the cherished endorsement of the Los Angeles Times, giving him a late-campaign boost. Human-rights attorney Barbara Mulvaney is also considered a strong candidate.
With the top two candidates advancing to a November runoff election, the likelihood is that a pair of Democrats will square off -- with some prognosticators giving Lieu and Greuel the edge. Some have speculated, however, that given the large field of Democrats, votes could be widely spread, opening the door for a Republican -- potentially prosecutor Elan Carr -- to sneak into a runoff.
Waxman has held the seat since 1974.
Meanwhile, a smaller field of eight hopefuls is looking to replace retiring Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, in the 25th Congressional District.
On its face, the campaign appears to be a showdown between Sen. Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, and former state Sen. Tony Strickland, also a Republican. The district is generally seen as a Republican stronghold, although the percentage of Democrats in the district has grown to nearly equal Republicans.
Two other Republicans are on the ballot -- tax adviser Troy Castagna and business owner Navraj Singh. Only two Democrats are in the field of hopefuls - - podiatrist Lee Rogers and Air Force veteran Evan Thomas -- while business owner David Koster Bruce is running as a Libertarian and businessman Michael Mussack did not select a party.
The district, which covers the Santa Clarita Valley and part of the Antelope Valley, also stretches into Ventura County, including Simi Valley. The area has deep military roots, and McKeon was been the chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee.
--City News Service