Longtime Davis-Fiedler Rift Adds Subplot to 37th District Contest
Those involved deny it, but a subplot in the heated primary race between Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) and challenger Hunt Braly is the longstanding antagonism between their two powerful political patrons, former U.S. Rep. Bobbi Fiedler and state Sen. Ed Davis (R-Santa Clarita).
Braly is Davis’ top aide. Wright is a friend and ally of Fiedler, the fiery Northridge housewife who rose to Congress on the strength of her opposition to court-ordered busing in Los Angeles.
The Davis-Fiedler split occurred in 1986 when they were among several contenders for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate. A few months into the campaign, a Davis aide told local prosecutors that Fiedler’s supporters had offered Davis $100,000 to get out of the race.
Fiedler was indicted on a felony charge of violating the state’s election code. A judge later threw out the indictment, but the resulting publicity badly damaged both Fiedler and Davis. They finished the primary fourth and fifth, respectively.
The rift between the two has never healed. And it has continued to be a factor in San Fernando Valley GOP politics.
Indeed, the Wright-Braly contest may not be the only one with the Davis-Fiedler subplot. Some political observers say the schism has spilled over an adjacent Valley Assembly district, where another GOP primary battle pits Paula Boland, a real estate broker backed by Fiedler, against Rob Wilcox, a one-time Davis aide.
Davis and Fiedler deny they are backing proxy candidates against one another in either contest. But some analysts say that, depending on the outcome of the races, Davis or Fiedler could benefit politically.
If Boland and Wright win, Fiedler would have two well-placed allies to help her if she acts on her stated desire to run for the Los Angeles City Council or the county Board of Supervisors.
If Wilcox wins, Davis will have a close ally to replace retiring GOP Assemblywoman Marian La Follette. And if Braly wins, Davis not only would have another legislative ally, but he would be rid of Wright--a longtime antagonist.