Within the crowded field of LA congressional candidates in the race to replace Schiff

Los Angeles, CA - February 8: (From left) Mike Feuer, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Maebe A. Girl, Nick Melvoin and District 25 California State Senator Anthony Portantino debate during the CA-30 Congressional Debate at Wilshire Ebell Theater on Saturday, 10 February 2024 in Los Angeles, CA.  (Michael Blackshire/Los Angeles Times)

(Michael Blackshire/Los Angeles Times)

Within the crowded field of LA congressional candidates in the race to replace Schiff

Homepage News, Elections 2024, California Politics

Julia Wick

February 18, 2024

The last time there was a competitive race for the congressional district now known as California’s 30th, Santana was at the top of the charts, Steve Jobs had just introduced Mac OS

the

Mayor of Los Angeles.

The year was 2000, and then-state Sen. Adam Schiff was challenging incumbent Republican Rep. James Rogan, who had become a national star and liberal bugbear for leading the impeachment proceedings against the president.

Bill

Clinton.

Rogan’s rise to fame following the impeachment, a record-breaking influx of outside money, and the ability to flip a coveted House seat from Republican to Democrat made it one of the most high-profile House races in the country that year.

The end result now seems like a fait accompli: The crowd in the ballroom of a Pasadena Hilton went wild just before 1 a.m. on November 8, 2000, as Schiff declared victory. The now ubiquitous California politician would make it through the next eleven election cycles without facing a serious challenger.

Nearly a quarter century after his initial conquest, Schiff’s departure for a Senate election has opened the floodgates, with fifteen people vying to replace him and represent a district that includes much of the city of Los Angeles, all of West Hollywood , Glendale and Burbank, and part of Pasadena.

But the prize in 2024 will look very different than in 2000: The winner will lead an overwhelmingly safe blue stronghold, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 3 to 1. It’s a rare open seat that could easily be represented by the winner for decades to come.

Amid a heated presidential election and the battle for the late Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, many voters are just beginning to pay attention to the army of candidates in the 30th century. The field includes state elected officials, a school board member, the former mayor of West Hollywood, a trans activist, a former child star, an intensive care doctor and several others.

State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank), Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), former LA City

Lawyer Aty.

Mike Feuer and LA Unified school board member Nick Melvoin are largely seen as the most competitive candidates: Each has raised more than or close to $1 million and previously represented hundreds of thousands of voters in districts that at least partially overlap with the 30th congressional district. .

Ben Savage, the actor who played Cory Matthews on the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World, has also poured more than $1 million into his campaign and has some name recognition and a robust recruiting program, making it difficult to discount him completely. seventh in his 2022 City Council race out of 34,500person city of West Hollywood, so winning in a much bigger, more competitive congressional race could be a challenge.

There isn’t much room between the leading elected officials on the most important issues: They’re all longtime Democrats who vociferously support abortion rights and gun control, promise to fight climate change, and promise to uphold democratic values ​​in Washington, DC. measured in degrees, rather than in broad strokes.

The top two winners from the March 5 primary will advance to the November election, a general election race that will almost certainly be a battle between Democrats and Democrats.

These crowded fields are very difficult to predict in terms of who will get through and who won’t, says Marva Diaz, a political consultant and publisher of the election guide California Target Book.

Diaz emphasized that on-the-ground campaigning would be particularly important in such a crowded race, especially since voters’ mailboxes would be filled with literature.

Portantino, a well-known state lawmaker who chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, has raised the most in this area, taking in more than $1.4 million as of December. 31, according to federal campaign finance filings.

Portantino also has the backing of the state’s most powerful labor organizations, which could be a major boon in a general election, as such groups often provide field support for their favored candidates. Last week, Portantino reintroduced a bill sponsored by the California Labor Federation that aims to provide unemployment benefits to striking workers. Gavin Newsom vetoed the measure last year.

Melvoin, a two-term Harvard-educated school board member who was first elected with the help of high school students, has raised about $1.3 million like Fire, a longtime lawmaker who serves on the Los Angeles City Council and in the state assembly. .

Friedman had raised just over $930,000 during the same filing period. Three other candidates — West Hollywood City Council member Sepi Shyne, public health advocate Jirair Ratevosian and Silver Lake Neighborhood Council member G. Maebe A. Girl Pudlo — had raised more than $100,000 as of the most recent filing deadline.

On a recent Saturday afternoon in a bucolic Beachwood Canyon backyard, a group of older Hollywood Hills residents listened intently as Friedman made her pitch.

I’m going to do what is sometimes uncomfortable for women. I’m going to talk about my achievements, Friedman told the crowd, before talking about her leadership on climate and sustainability issues in the Legislature.

It was almost certainly not a caveat that her prominent male competitors would have faced. But Friedman, a former film executive and politician, has made her gender part of her campaign. often noting that she would be the first woman to hold this seat and underscoring the importance of having women in leadership positions when abortion rights are on the table during a recent debate.

She has taken a somewhat unorthodox slant in her advertisements, highlighting her background as a semi-professional pool player digital advertisement and sent a mailer to

almost 100,000

households.

Feuer and Portantino, the only two candidates who

appears to be

advertising on the much more expensive television waves

up to now

have taken a very different approach.

Portantino has a moving story 30 second spot which focuses on Mia Tretta, a teenage survivor of the 2019 Saugus High School shooting. Looking directly into the camera, Tretta tells viewers that many politicians sent thoughts and prayers, but Anthony Portantino took action and passed laws to to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, and banned guns for anyone under the age of 21.

Jan Wieringa, an undecided voter who sat in the audience at a recent candidates forum, said Portantino’s ad had resonated deeply with her.

That really made me stand out, the film producer said of the ad.

Like Portantino, Feuer has also emphasized his advocacy for gun control, praising the endorsement of former Rep. Gabby Giffords and his work as a prosecutor in the fight against gun violence.

Feuer seems most eager to publicly cast himself in a Schiff-ian mold, highlighting his own past battles with President Trump as city attorney. He has made defending democracy a central theme of his campaign, characterizing himself as the only candidate in this race who has fought against authoritarianism and stood up for democracy.

Feuer got a big boost from his former competitor, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, who endorsed him early in the race and took out an ad sing his praises on domestic violence and elder abuse protection, Trump fights and other advocacy. Feuer dropped out of the mayoral race weeks before the 2022 primary to support Bass.

Melvoin who, at 3

8th

, who is a generation younger than other elected officials, has put generational change at the forefront of his campaign. His own 30-second campaign spot, which runs digitally and on streaming platforms, pairs him with a middle-aged actor playing a boring career politician running for Congress because that’s what career politicians do.

Schiff has yet to declare his support in the crowded primaries and is unlikely to do so given his own competition for the Senate.

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