A "throw out the bums" attitude may be gripping voters nationwide, but most of the congressional and legislative officeholders in districts covering the San Gabriel Valley face only marginal challenges. Fund raising and voter registration strongly favor most incumbents.
The area's hottest race pits Assemblyman Bill Hoge (R-Pasadena) against former Pasadena Police Chief Bruce Philpott in a no-holds-barred mudfest.
The other relatively close race has Rep. Carlos J. Moorhead (R-Glendale), first elected in 1972, facing a well-funded Altadena businessman who made a strong showing against the congressman two years ago.
Rep. Jay C. Kim (R-Diamond Bar) is still the target of a federal investigation into possible violations of election, tax and labor laws, but he is expected to retain the seat he won two years ago.
ASSEMBLY / 44th District
Area: La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Sunland, Tujunga.
Registration: 45% Democrat; 43% Republican.
Candidates: Bill Hoge (R), assemblyman; Bruce Philpott (D), retired police chief; Ken Saurenman (Lib.), contractor.
Background: Hoge, who won a close election two years ago against an underfunded challenger, is being taken to the wire this time by a strong Democratic challenger, former Pasadena Police Chief Philpott. Hoge, a conservative who has advocated putting the National Guard on the border to stop illegal immigration and requiring the death penalty for anyone committing three violent crimes, has considerably more money than Philpott. But Philpott has a lot of political currency in his standing as a former police chief. And he has been hitting hard at Hoge for accepting more than $100,000 in campaign donations from gambling interests and carrying gambling-related legislation. Philpott pledges to work for campaign reform to limit the influence of special interests in the state Capitol.
ASSEMBLY / 49th District
Area: Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Rosemead.
Registration: 61% Democrat; 25% Republican.
Candidates: Kim Goldsworthy (Lib.), salesman; Diane Martinez (D), assemblywoman; George H. Nirschl III (R).
Background: Like many of the other candidates, Martinez faced her toughest opponent in the June primary in her quest for a second term representing the heavily Democratic district. Martinez scored a legislative victory recently when the governor signed into law her bill allowing the state to extend the Long Beach (710) Freeway through South Pasadena without the city's approval. Martinez is expected to score an easy win over her two opponents.
ASSEMBLY / 57th District
Area: Azusa, Baldwin Park, El Monte, La Puente.
Registration: 57% Democrat; 30% Republican.
Candidates: David Argall, (Lib.), newspaper deliverer; Martin Gallegos (D), chiropractor; Frank Yik (R), programmer.
Background: This seat opened up when Assemblywoman Hilda L. Solis (D-El Monte) decided to run for state Senate. Democrat Gallegos, a chiropractor who runs his own clinic, emphasized his experience running a small business to win his party's nomination in a tough primary battle. Gallegos is expected to easily defeat Republican Frank Yik and Libertarian David C. Argall in the heavily Democratic district.
ASSEMBLY / 59th District
Area: Claremont, Covina, Monrovia, Pomona, San Dimas.
Registration: 48% Republican; 40% Democratic.
Candidates: Margalo Ashley-Farrand (D), lawyer; Richard Mountjoy (R), assemblyman.
Background: Mountjoy is running in this Republican district at the same time he is campaigning for the final two years of the Senate seat recently resigned by former Sen. Frank Hill. The conservative Mountjoy is expected to win both seats. If so, he would resign the Assembly seat he has held since 1978. Ashley-Farrand has attacked Mountjoy for failing to drop out of the Assembly race to spare voters the cost of a special election.
ASSEMBLY / 60th District
Area: Diamond Bar, La Mirada, West Covina, Whittier.
Registration: 43% Democrat; 43% Republican.
Candidates: Paul V. Horcher (R), assemblyman; Andrew M. (Andy) Ramirez (D), political consultant; Michael L. Welte (Lib.), engineer.
Background: Horcher is expected to win his third term in the Assembly after losing a special election in September when he tried to move up to the state Senate. Horcher, who calls a mainstream candidate, thinks his appeal to moderates and conservatives alike will make the difference in this race. Voter registration favors Horcher because Republicans generally turn out in higher numbers than do Democrats.
ASSEMBLY / 61st District
Area: Pomona, Ontario, San Bernardino County.
Registration: 45% Democrat; 44% Republican.
Candidates: Fred Aguiar (R), assemblyman; Larry Silva (D), counselor.
Background: Aguiar ran unopposed in the June primary and comes up against an underfunded challenger, Silva, in the general election. Republican voter turnout favors Aguiar winning a second term. And Silva, who at 26 has never held public office, has been unable to raise the money to mount a serious challenge.
SENATE / 24th District
Area: Alhambra, Azusa, Baldwin Park, East Los Angeles, El Monte, La Puente, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel.
Registration: 59% Democratic; 28% Republican.
Candidates: Dave Boyer (R), lawyer; George Feger (Lib.), businessman; Hilda Solis (D), assemblywoman.
Background: After one term in the lower house, Solis decided to move up to the Senate. She defeated former Azusa Mayor Eugene F. Moses in the Democratic primary, which was seen as her toughest test in the heavily Democratic district. Solis is a strong opponent of Proposition 187, which would bar illegal immigrants from most public services. She is expected to have little trouble against Boyer, who supports Proposition 187, and Feger.
SENATE / 29th District
Area: Arcadia, Bradbury, Claremont, Covina, Diamond Bar, Duarte, Glendora, La Canada Flintridge, Monrovia, Pomona, San Dimas, Sierra Madre, Temple City, Walnut, West Covina and Whittier.
Registration: 46% Republican; 41% Democrat.
Candidates: Sandra K. Hester (D), former congressional aide; Richard Mountjoy (R), assemblyman; Matthew J. Piazza (Lib.), former journalist; Walter R. Sheasby III (Green), labor economist.
Background: Mountjoy easily won a special election in September but failed to get the majority of votes to avoid a runoff to fill the last two years of former Sen. Frank Hill's term. Hill, a Whittier Republican, resigned after being convicted of extortion, money laundering and conspiracy. The archconservative Mountjoy, a strong backer of Proposition 187, is expected to ride to victory on the back of the district's strong Republican registration. Hester opposes Proposition 187 and proposes to boost the state's economy by providing incentives to attract recyclers and other environmental industries.
SENATE / 30th District
Area: Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, most of South El Monte, South Gate, Vernon, Walnut Park and parts of Whittier.
Registration: 65% Democrat; 24% Republican.
Candidates: Charles M. Calderon (D), state senator; Ken Gow (R), retired aerospace engineer.
Background: Calderon appears virtually invincible in this heavily Democratic district. The only person standing between Calderon and reelection is Gow, a perennial losing candidate.
SENATE / 32nd District
Area: Pomona, San Bernardino County.
Registration: 52% Democrat; 37% Republican.
Candidates: Ruben S. Ayala (D), state senator; Earl De Vries (R), technician.
Background: First elected in 1974, Ayala is expected to win reelection in a district in which Democrats outnumber Republicans. Ayala, the author of legislation creating the California Conservation Corps for at-risk youths, is running a low-key campaign emphasizing his experience. De Vries, campaigning as a tax fighter, has been unable to raise much money.
CONGRESS / 27th District
Area: Burbank, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena.
Registration: 44% Democrat; 43% Republican.
Candidates: Dennis Decherd (Lib.), computer analyst; Bill Gibbs (AI), businessman; Doug Kahn (D), businessman; Carlos J. Moorhead (R), congressman.
Background: The pundits expect this to be one of the closer races, but Moorhead is favored to win his 12th term. Voter registration favors the dean of the state's GOP congressional delegation because Republicans tend to turn out to vote in higher numbers than do Democrats. Moorhead is campaigning as a fiscal conservative and strong opponent of illegal immigration. Kahn, a capable fund-raiser, has put out mailers in recent weeks portraying Moorhead as a member of a good-old-boys network that favors taxpayer-funded junkets.
CONGRESS / 28th District
Area: Arcadia, Claremont, Covina, Monrovia, Pomona, San Dimas.
Registration: 46% Republican; 41% Democrat.
Candidates: Jorj Baker (Lib.), businessman; David Dreier (R), congressman; Tommy Randle (D), businessman.
Background: Dreier, who was first elected to Congress in 1981, is expected to score an easy victory in this Republican district. Dreier, a prodigious fund-raiser, has one of the House's largest campaign funds with more than $2 million. Named a "taxpayers best friend" by the National Taxpayers Union, Dreier supports a zero capital-gains tax rate and opposes requiring employers to pick up the tab for a national health care plan. Randle, who also ran for the seat in 1992 but lost in the primary, supports employer mandates to help pay for national health care. He also is a proponent of campaign finance reform to reduce the influence of special interests.
CONGRESS / 31st District
Area: Alhambra, Azusa, Baldwin Park, El Monte, Irwindale, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, South El Monte.
Registration: 59% Democrat; 27% Republican.
Candidates: John V. Flores (R), transportation superintendent; Matthew G. Martinez (D), congressman.
Background: Martinez, long criticized as one of the state's least-effective congressmen, breezed through a primary challenge that was considered his toughest test in the heavily Democratic district. Martinez is a strong opponent of Proposition 187. He is expected to easily defeat Flores on Nov. 8. Flores, a proponent of Proposition 187, received a boost last week when former Vice President Dan Quayle appeared at one of his fund-raisers.
CONGRESS / 34th District
Area: La Puente, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Whittier.
Registration: 62% Democrat; 28% Republican.
Candidates: Albert J. Nunez (R), businessman; Carl M. Swinney (Lib.), radiologic technologist; Esteban E. Torres (D), congressman.
Background: The 34th District is heavily Democratic and Rep. Esteban E. Torres should have no trouble keeping the seat he has held since 1983. He faces a nominal challenge from Republican Albert J. Nunez and Libertarian Carl M. Swinney.
CONGRESS / 41st District
Area: Diamond Bar, Fullerton, Pomona, Yorba Linda, San Bernardino County.
Registration: 48% Republican; 39% Democrat.
Candidates: Jay C. Kim (R), congressman; Ed Tessier (D), businessman.
Background: Kim, still under federal investigation for possible violations of election, tax and labor laws stemming from his 1992 campaign, is expected to have little trouble defeating Tessier, a little-known and poorly funded candidate. Kim is weathering the federal probe, which has produced no charges so far, with minimal damage. Political analysts say the district just has too many Republicans for Tessier to pull out an upset. In addition to attacking Kim for his legal problems, Tessier has criticized the congressman for opposing recently passed anti-crime legislation, which banned various types of assault weapons. Kim maintained that the new law is not tough enough on crime. The congressman cites $11.3 million in federal grants for improvement to Chino and Ontario airports as some of the benefits he has helped bring to the district.