The field of contenders became clearer Friday for Los Angeles County government's June election, the first in decades that will have no incumbent on the ballot, as a period for candidates to file papers closed.
Term limits are forcing out two county supervisors, and the sheriff and the assessor chose not to seek reelection amid corruption scandals involving their agencies.
Topping the list of contenders seeking to replace Zev Yaroslavsky as a western county representative on the Board of Supervisors are former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver, a former Santa Monica mayor and a member of the Kennedy political dynasty.
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis appears to be well positioned to win a heavily Democratic eastern county district being vacated by Gloria Molina. The race is officially nonpartisan, but her most prominent opponent is a Republican City Council member from El Monte.
Amid investigations involving their agencies, Sheriff Lee Baca recently resigned and Assessor John Noguez is not seeking another term. As a result, prospective candidates for those countywide offices are being given an extra five days to complete their paperwork.
Kuehl has been running for Yaroslavsky's seat for a year, collecting $429,400 in campaign cash as of the end of last year. Kuehl, who's held 30 fundraising "house parties" so far, said she's ready for weeks of intense campaigning ahead. "I just feel the momentum growing and growing,'' she said.
At campaign stops, Shriver has emphasized his work in raising millions of dollars from the public and private sectors for the disabled and for global health programs. He has pledged to "shake things up" in county government as an elected supervisor.
Shriver hasn't been required to post a campaign fundraising report yet because he entered the race recently. He has said he is willing to use his personal wealth to help finance a campaign.
"We are moving around the district pretty aggressively,'' Shriver's consultant, Bill Carrick, said Friday.
Also competing for the seat is John Duran, a lawyer and longtime West Hollywood council member who describes himself as a more moderate and business-friendly alternative to Shriver and Kuehl.
He said he has raised $130,000 — more than twice the amount he reported at the end of December. During his 14 years on the City Council, West Hollywood thrived, he said. "We are liberal on social issues but very pro-business on economic issues."
The other 3rd District candidates are Pamela Conley Ulich, a lawyer and former Malibu mayor; Doug Fay of Santa Monica, an environmentalist; Yuval Daniel Kremer of Los Angeles, an educator and business owner; Eric Preven, who lists his occupation as citizen watchdog; and Rudy Melendez, a lighting technician in the film industry.
In the 1st District seat, which includes downtown Los Angeles and communities stretching into the San Gabriel Valley, Solis is regarded as the favorite. She has relatively good name recognition and backing from the Democratic Party, as well as more than $500,000 in campaign contributions and support from labor, business, real estate and entertainment interests.
Some observers say she could secure the seat in the June 3 primary without having to compete in a November runoff election.
Garry South, a veteran Democratic political consultant who is not associated with the campaign, said Solis' advantages would be extremely difficult to overcome for lesser-known challengers. "From the very beginning, Hilda Solis basically cleared the field," he said.
At least one of the challengers is well known in Solis' hometown of El Monte. Juventino "J" Gomez, a councilman and former deputy to county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, entered the race last month.
"Every day I talk to constituents," he said. "I'm encouraged to hear from them that they really don't want Washington-style politics in the district."
Police Officer April Saucedo Hood, a political newcomer who lives in Pico Rivera, is also running for the seat.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times