Brent Roske drops out of Waxman seat race, endorses Williamson

Brent Roske drops out of Waxman seat race, endorses Williamson
TV producer-director Brent Roske, shown in 2011, has dropped out of the race to succeed Rep. Henry Waxman and is supporting former rival Marianne Williamson. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

TV producer-director Brent Roske said Friday he has dropped out of the crowded race to succeed Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and is supporting spiritual teacher and best selling author Marianne Williamson.

Roske, who has no party affiliation, was the first to enter the race, in July, months before Waxman announced he would not seek another term. The first-time candidate and creator of the political drama "Chasing the Hill" said he felt it will take an independent candidate to break the ideology-driven gridlock in Washington.

Roske, who decided not to raise money for his campaign, said Williamson, also an independent, has the better chance of winning one of the two places on the November ballot and that he is stepping aside to help her.

"She might not be everyone's idea of a perfect candidate, but she has the passion and resources to win in November," Roske said. Williamson had reported collecting about $1 million, including some of her own money, through the first quarter of the year.

Noting that there currently are no unaffiliated members of the House, Roske said in an interview that "I want her to win and I think she can win."

"Getting an independent in the House will alter American politics," Roske said, "and I have to do everything I can to not let that opportunity pass by."

"I am honored by Brent's endorsement," Williamson said in a statement released by her campaign. She said he came by her campaigns headquarters Thursday night and announce his plans to her supporters.

"With his support, and the support of thousands of others across the district, we can start a new conversation in Congress and help reclaim our democracy," Williamson continued.

Roske is the second candidate to drop out of the race. His name and that of Democratic businessman James Graf will remain on the ballot because their decisions came too late to remove them.

With 18 candidates listed, the race to succeed Waxman in the Westside-South Bay 33rd Congressional District is the largest field in the June 3 primary.

Under the state's top two-primary system, all the candidates are listed on the same ballot and all voters choose among them, regardless of party affiliation. Only the first- and second-place finishers can advance to the November general election.