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Today's Metro section of The Times--and much of Monday's Metro section as well--is devoted to coverage of California's extraordinary election year, focusing on the hottest legislative races in Southern California and throughout the state.

A collision of forces has shaken incumbents from office, opened up new seats, and made it a certainty that a huge change will overtake our representation in Sacramento and Washington when the 1992 elections are over.

Two upheavals were the redrawing of legislative district lines and the impending term limits for state offices. Add widespread voter dissatisfaction with elected officials--fueled by a sour economy, rioting in Los Angeles and members of Congress writing overdrafts on the House bank--and you have a powerful recipe for change.

Today's coverage describes the competitive state Senate and Assembly races, which are the most wide open in decades. Republicans are expecting substantial gains.

Monday's focus will be congressional campaigns.

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