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Election to Fill Robbins Seat Is Set for April 7 : Politics: If no one wins more than 50% of the votes, a runoff must be held to pick the state senator’s successor.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Gov. Pete Wilson on Thursday set April 7 for a special election to fill out the term of former state Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys), who resigned last month in disgrace after agreeing to plead guilty to two felony counts of federal racketeering and tax evasion charges.

If none of the candidates wins more than 50% of the total votes cast in the election, a runoff election will be held June 2 between the highest vote-getters in each party.

Robbins was a political fixture in the Valley for nearly 19 years, having captured the Democratic-leaning seat in a special election in 1973. When he resigned from the San Fernando Valley district, he agreed to accept a prison sentence of five years.

The resignation immediately triggered a scramble among Valley-area politicians interested in completing Robbins’ term, which does not expire until 1994. The 20th District covers much of the Valley, including Mission Hills, Pacoima, Reseda, Van Nuys and the city of San Fernando.

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Among the potential candidates are state Senate President Pro Tempore David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles), whose Burbank-area district has been carved up in a state Supreme Court reapportionment plan released earlier this week. Mel Assagai, a Roberti spokesman, acknowledged on Thursday that campaigning for Robbins’ former seat is “one of the options that Roberti is considering.”

Among others who are looking at the vacant seat are Los Angeles school board member Roberta Weintraub and Democratic Assemblymen Terry B. Friedman of Los Angeles, Richard Katz of Sylmar and Tom Bane of Tarzana.

After Wilson made his announcement, Katz confirmed that he is looking at taking a shot at the Robbins seat. “I’d be a pretty strong candidate,” Katz said, noting that his own Assembly district overlaps about half of the 20th Senate District.

Katz, who is exploring a race for mayor of Los Angeles in 1993, said he would make up his mind about the Senate race in the next few weeks.

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Friedman said Thursday that he was seriously considering running in Robbins’ former district.

If a runoff election is necessary, it will be combined with the June 2 statewide primary. Wilson said the consolidation of the election would save taxpayers an estimated $500,000.


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