Share via

Much is at stake for both major parties in California’s congressional races--if for no other reason because of the sheer size of the state’s delegation: 52 seats. Of those, 20 are wholly or in part within Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Only New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas and California have House delegations of more than 20 seats. Retirements and reapportionment have made a dramatic impact, bringing forward a host of new candidates in the June primaries and leaving 10 of the 20 districts with no incumbent. Because of lopsided registration figures, most races were all but decided in June. However, at least four of these 20 congressional races are highly competitive, while others have a potential for upsets in a political season marked by volatility. Here are all the House races at stake in the three counties Nov. 3, with major party registration figures as of early September:


CONGRESS / 24th District

Area: Western San Fernando Valley and eastern Ventura County communities of Agoura, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Encino, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Oak Park, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Topanga and Westlake Village, and portions of Chatsworth, Northridge, Reseda, West Hills and Woodland Hills.

Registration: 45% D / 42% R

Background: A newly affluent, predominantly white district that has no incumbent. Veteran Democrat Anthony C. Beilenson, running in a new district that includes none of the Westside communities in which he has enjoyed support, faces his toughest race in years. Republican Tom McClintock, one of the Assembly’s most conservative lawmakers, is a proven vote-getter. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Anthony C. Beilenson: Congressman REPUBLICAN; Tom McClintock: Assemblyman PEACE AND FREEDOM; John Paul Lindblad: Health environment architect *


CONGRESS / 25th District

Area: Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Castaic, Gorman, Lancaster, Leona Valley, Littlerock, Llano, Palmdale, Pearblossom, Quartz Hill, Santa Clarita and Saugus, and parts of Chatsworth, Granada Hills, Northridge and Sunland.

Registration: 38% D / 50% R

Background: A new, primarily white, overwhelmingly Republican district that has no incumbent. Howard P.(Buck) McKeon, a former Santa Clarita mayor, conservative banker and clothing retailer, is regarded as the front-runner in the six-way race. His chief opponents are Rick Pamplin, a Ross Perot loyalist, and Democrat James H. (Gil) Gilmartin. This will mark the first time the fast-growing Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, which formerly were divided among four districts, will have their own representative in Congress. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; James H. (Gil) Gilmartin: Attorney REPUBLICAN; Howard P. (Buck) McKeon: Businessman GREEN; Charles Wilken: Teacher LIBERTARIAN; Peggy L. Christensen: Cardiac care consultant PEACE AND FREEDOM; Nancy Lawrence: Political organizer INDEPENDENT; Rick Pamplin: Small businessman/educator *

CONGRESS/ 26th District

Area: Arleta, Pacoima, Panorama City, San Fernando, Sylmar and Valley Village, and parts of Lake View Terrace, North Hollywood, Sun Valley, Sunland and Van Nuys.

Registration: 59% D / 29% R

Background: A predominantly working class, heavily Democratic district in which the majority of residents are Latinos. Howard L. Berman, a five-term lawmaker, lost affluent, liberal communities in the Hollywood Hills through reapportionment but gained more Democrats in his new district. GOP nominee Gary Forsch, a conservative, says he hopes to cash in on voter discontent with incumbents. Nonetheless, this should be a safe seat for Democrats. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Howard L. Berman: Congressman REPUBLICAN; Gary Forsch: Businessman LIBERTARIAN; Bernard Zimring: Contractor PEACE AND FREEDOM; Margery Hinds: Medical assistant *

CONGRESS / 27th District

Area: Altadena, Burbank, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, Pasadena, San Marino, South Pasadena, Sunland and Tujunga, and parts of Lake View Terrace, Sun Valley and Sylmar.

Registration: 42% D / 45% R

Background: A predominantly white, Republican-leaning district. Carlos J. Moorhead, rated the most conservative lawmaker in the House and a 20-year congressional veteran, is seeking reelection in a newly drawn district that has more Democrats and minorities than his previous district. His main challenger is Doug Kahn, a Democratic Party activist and political newcomer. Moorhead, though favored to win, says he is taking nothing for granted and is waging a full-scale campaign. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Doug Kahn: Small-business owner REPUBLICAN; Carlos J. Moorhead: Congressman GREEN; Jess Moorman: Attorney LIBERTARIAN; Dennis Decherd: Computer system analyst *


CONGRESS / 28th District

Area: Arcadia, Temple City, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Bradbury, Duarte, Claremont, West Covina, Covina, Glendora, La Verne, San Dimas and Walnut, and parts of the City of Industry, Pasadena, Pomona and Rowland Heights.

Registration: 41% D / 48% R

Background: A district that incorporates most of the San Gabriel Valley’s Republican voters from the eastern edge of Pasadena to the county line at Claremont. In Congress since 1980, David Dreier has accumulated nearly $2 million in his campaign treasury because he has not faced a tough opponent. Democrat Al Wachtel is pitching his appeal to disaffected Republicans, including Perot supporters, by labeling Dreier as a career politician beholden to special interests. Dreier says his conservative views are in line with the district. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Al Wachtel: College teacher REPUBLICAN; David Dreier: Congressman LIBERTARIAN; Thomas J. Dominy: Pharmaceutical representative GREEN; Walter Sheasby: Labor economist *

CONGRESS / 29th District

Area: Most of the Westside, from Santa Monica-Pacific Palisades to Hollywood and Los Feliz; Santa Monica Mountains, Sherman Oaks and Studio City.

Registration: 57% D / 28% R

Background: One of the richest, most liberal districts in the nation. Democrat Henry A. Waxman racked up 434 overdrafts at the House bank but does not seem to have suffered much for it at home, and he remains widely regarded as one of the most influential members of the House. Republican Mark A. Robbins, who is openly gay, has a mostly progressive platform and is campaigning energetically despite his long-shot status. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Henry A. Waxman: Congressman REPUBLICAN; Mark A. Robbins: Attorney LIBERTARIAN; Felix Tsvi Rogin: Rabbi, accountant PEACE AND FREEDOM; Susan C. Davies: Social worker INDEPENDENT; David Davis: Engineer, musician, inventor *

CONGRESS / 30th District

Area: East Hollywood, Pico Union, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Chinatown, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, Highland Park, El Sereno.

Registration: 60% D / 25% R

Background: The main event in this district was fought in the June primaries, when Stanford-trained lawyer Xavier Becerra, backed by Supervisor Gloria Molina, bested Los Angeles Board of Education member Leticia Quezada, who was backed by state Sen. Art Torres. Republican Morry Waksberg has a steep uphill fight against Becerra. Long-time peace activist and educator Blase Bonpane is waging a grass-roots campaign as a Green Party candidate. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Xavier Becerra: Assemblyman REPUBLICAN; Morry Waksberg: Physician-surgeon, educator LIBERTARIAN; Andrew (Drew) Consalvo: Quality control manager PEACE AND FREEDOM; Elizabeth A. Nakano: Social worker GREEN; Blase Bonpane: American government professor *


CONGRESS / 31st District

Area: Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Rosemead, El Monte, South El Monte, Baldwin Park, Irwindale and Azusa.

Registration: 58% D / 29% R

Background: Nearly 60% of this district is Latino and 22% Asian. Democrat Matthew G. Martinez has been winning tough elections here since 1982, beating back aggressive challenges from other Democrats in primary campaigns on three occasions, including this year. This is a rematch of the 1990 election when Martinez beat Republican Reuben D. Franco, 58% to 37%. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Matthew G. Martinez: Congressman REPUBLICAN; Reuben D. Franco: Businessman *

CONGRESS / 32nd District

Area: Culver City, Palms, Mar Vista, Baldwin Hills, Crenshaw, part of South-Central Los Angeles.

Registration: 76% D / 14% R

Background: Safe seats don’t come any safer. This new district is little changed from Democrat Julian C. Dixon’s old one. The seven-term veteran had no primary challenger and faces only minor-party opposition Nov. 3. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Julian C. Dixon: Congressman LIBERTARIAN; Bob Weber: Motion picture technician PEACE AND FREEDOM; William R. Williams: Retired truck driver *

CONGRESS / 33rd District

Area: Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, South Gate, Huntington Park, Maywood, Vernon, Florence, Walnut Park, and parts of Downey, Los Angeles and East Los Angeles.

Registration: 66% D / 21% R

Background: This new district is one of the most predominantly Latino districts in the country and is also a place where Democrats abound. Those two factors, plus the fact that she’s the daughter of Rep. Edward R. Roybal, one of Los Angeles’ most-venerated congressmen, give Assemblywoman Lucille Roybal-Allard an almost unbeatable edge over Republican Robert Guzman in this race. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Lucille Roybal-Allard: Assemblywoman REPUBLICAN; Robert Guzman: Education consultant LIBERTARIAN; Dale S. Olvera: Retired salesman PEACE AND FREEDOM; Tim Delia: Special education teacher *


CONGRESS / 34rd District

Area: Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, and parts of Commerce, East Los Angeles, Hacienda Heights, Industry, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, Rosemead, South San Gabriel, Valinda and West Covina.

Registration: 61% D / 29% R

Background: Incumbent Rep. Esteban E. Torres has the upper hand in this predominantly Latino district. Registered Democrats vastly outnumber all other parties, and the liberal congressman has been so popular in the district that no one challenged him in the Democratic primary. Republican Jay Hernandez is unlikely to keep Torres from his sixth term. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Esteban Torres: Congressman REPUBLICAN; Jay Hernandez: Optical laboratory owner LIBERTARIAN; Carl M. Swinney: X-ray technician *

CONGRESS / 35th District

Area: Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, South-Central Los Angeles.

Registration: 79% D / 12% R

Background: Thanks in part to her party’s huge voter registration advantage in this largely minority district, Rep. Maxine Waters looks set to sail past rival Republican Nate Truman, a political newcomer who claims to be a distant relation of Harry S. Truman. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Maxine Waters: Congresswoman REPUBLICAN; Nate Truman: Small-businessman LIBERTARIAN; Carin Rogers: Sound editor PEACE AND FREEDOM; Alice Mae Miles: Cafeteria worker *

CONGRESS / 36th District

Area: El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Marina del Rey, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Torrance, Venice, Westchester.

Registration: 42% D / 44% R

Background: The top contenders in this predominantly white coastal district are two well-financed women--Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, a Republican, and attorney Jane Harman, a Democrat. Flores is favored by a GOP voter registration edge and broad name recognition in the district. But Harman is trying to attract crossover votes by drawing attention to local job losses and such “wedge issues” as abortion rights, which Harman supports and Flores opposes. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Jane Harman: Attorney/businesswoman REPUBLICAN; Joan Milke Flores: Los Angeles city councilwoman GREEN; Richard H. Greene: Attorney, environmental educator LIBERTARIAN; Marc F. Denny: Attorney/businessman PEACE AND FREEDOM; Owen Staley: College instructor *

CONGRESS / 37th District

Area: Carson, Lynwood, Wilmington, Willowbrook, most of Compton, and parts of Athens, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Paramount.


Registration: 76% D / 14% R

Background: The hottest--and ugliest--part of the campaign to win this race finished with the Democratic primary. Compton Mayor Walter R. Tucker III’s victory over Lynn Dymally, the daughter of retiring Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally, places him way out front going into the general election. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Walter R. Tucker III: Compton mayor/attorney PEACE AND FREEDOM; B. Kwaku Duren: Economic development attorney *

CONGRESS / 38th District

Area: Bellflower, Downey, Lakewood, Paramount, Signal Hill, most of Long Beach, parts of Compton, Norwalk, South Gate and San Pedro.

Registration: 49% D / 39% R

Background: Democratic Rep. Glenn Anderson’s retirement has left Repubicans with the best hope in years of winning this seat. Though registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, these Democrats traditionally have been conservatives and supported Reagan and Bush. Both Democrat Evan Anderson Braude, the stepson of the retiring congressman, and Republican Steve Horn are moderates. Both support abortion rights. Both have respected political histories and big-name supporters. Given all this, the race is expected to be one of the most competitive in the state. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Evan Anderson Braude: City councilman REPUBLICAN; Steve Horn: University professor LIBERTARIAN; Blake Ashley: Attorney PEACE AND FREEDOM; Paul Burton: Musician/writer *

CONGRESS / 39th District

Area: Artesia, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, La Habra Heights, parts of Hacienda Heights, La Mirada, Long Beach and several Orange County cities.

Registration: 39% D / 50% R

Background: This predominately Anglo district straddles the Los Angeles and Orange County lines. It was left open when Rep. William E. Dannemeyer gave up the seat for an unsuccessful U.S. Senate run. Voter registration and more money give Republican State Sen. Ed Royce the upper hand over Democrat Molly McClanahan, a Fullerton city councilwoman. CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Molly McClanahan: City councilwoman REPUBLICAN; Ed Royce: State senator LIBERTARIAN; Jack Dean: Businessman


CONGRESS / 41st District

Area: Diamond Bar and most of Pomona and Rowland Heights in Los Angeles County; Chino, Chino Hills, Montclair and part of Ontario in San Bernardino County, and Yorba Linda in northern Orange County.


Registration: 39% D / 49% R

Background: A new congressional district carved out of fast-growing, solidly Republican communities in southeastern Los Angeles County, western San Bernardino County and northeastern Orange County. Republican Jay C. Kim, mayor of Diamond Bar, scored an upset over former Assemblyman Charles Bader to gain the Republican nomination and is poised to become the first Korean-American elected to Congress.

CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Bob Baker: Analyst for defense contractor REPUBLICAN; Jay C. Kim: Mayor of Diamond Bar PEACE AND FREEDOM; Mike Noonan: Pharmacist *

CONGRESS / 42nd District

Area: Covers Colton, Rialto, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, most of San Bernardino and a chunk of Ontario.

Registration: 53% D / 38% R

Background: The liberal George E. Brown Jr. has handily turned away challengers for almost three decades, but a newly drawn district and the voters’ anti-incumbent ire have made him vulnerable to a challenge by Republican Dick Rutan. Rutan is a political rookie, but he has money and name recognition stemming from his around-the-world Voyager flight in 1986.

CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Rep. George E. Brown Jr.: representative REPUBLICAN; Dick Rutan: aircraft business owner LIBERTARIAN; Fritz R. Ward: teaching assistant *

CONGRESS / 43rd District

Area: Covers Riverside, Corona, Norco, Lake Elsinore, Murieta and parts of Temecula, Moreno Valley, Perris and Menifee Valley.


Registration: 42% D / 46% R

Background: A new district in the fast-growing reaches of western Riverside County. Ken Calvert is the chosen candidate of the local power brokers, and the Republicans’ edge in voter registration--combined with a hefty campaign war chest--give him the edge. But Mark A. Takano is a native son waging an aggressive grass roots campaign, and he beat six primary challengers to gain the Democratic nomination.

CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Mark A. Takano: Teacher/college trustee REPUBLICAN; Ken Calvert: Small businessman LIBERTARIAN; Gene L. Berkman: Independent bookseller AMERICAN INDEPENDENT; Gary R. Odom: Attorney *

CONGRESS / 44th District

Area: Covers the desert of eastern Riverside County, stretching from Moreno Valley to Blythe and including Perris, Banning, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, and Indio.

Registration: 43% D / 46% R

Background: Five-term incumbent Al McCandless got a scare two years ago, when Ralph Waite--better known from “The Waltons”--took him on and held him to 50% of the vote. The Democrats have no such weapon this year, but Georgia Smith ran strong in the primary and is a woman in a year when that may matter.

CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION DEMOCRAT; Georgia Smith: Geographer REPUBLICAN; Al McCandless: Member of Congress LIBERTARIAN; Phil Turner: Substitute teacher