Big field vies for Cox's seat

Tuesday's special election to fill the 48th Congressional District

seat will be an open primary -- any registered voter can vote for any

one of the 17 candidates on the ballot, regardless of party

affiliation.

If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes, he or she

will be declared the winner. If no candidate gets the required

majority, the top vote-getters in each party will qualify for a

run-off on Dec. 6.

Ten Republicans, four Democrats and one candidate each from the

Libertarian, Green and American Independent parties are vying for the

Congressional seat left vacant when Christopher Cox became the head

of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The 48th District is considered to be solidly Republican. However,

with 10 Republicans competing for Cox's long-held seat, a majority

may be hard to win.

The order of names on the ballot is decided randomly.

Former Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer and state Sen. John

Campbell are the front-runners in Tuesday's election and the two top

fundraisers, according to the most recent financial reports. Their

campaign literature appears in local mailboxes almost daily, and

their representatives spoke at the recent meeting of the Laguna Beach

Republicans.

Brewer's stand on same-sex partnerships resonates in Laguna Beach.

"Marilyn believes in the continuation of domestic partnerships and

civil unions -- John does not," said Frank Ricchiazzi, a member of

the Log Cabin Republicans.

"I know both of them personally, and I will not be making an

endorsement," he added. "But anybody who doesn't vote on Tuesday --

don't complain if we have a very conservation representative for the

next few years or a mainstream representative."

Ricchiazzi said the 18% of city voters who decline to state party

affiliation will be the key to the upcoming election.

"Marilyn respects the rights of individuals," said campaign

director James Vaughn, a resident of Laguna. "And she shares with

Nancy Reagan support for embryonic stem cell research. John Campbell

does not."

Brewer is supported by Arizona Sen. John McCain.

"You have been well served by Chris Cox, and you will be very well

served by John Campbell, specifically in leadership," Campbell

campaign staffer Michelle Hart said. "He looked for solutions that

did not include raising taxes. And he fought for basic-aid school

districts."

Laguna Beach is one of only a handful of basic-aid districts in

California. Such districts depend on local property taxes rather than

state funding.

Mayor Elizabeth Pearson and council members Steven Dicterow and

Cheryl Kinsman have endorsed Campbell, as has the state Republican

Party.

With a Republican victory probable -- if not on Tuesday, then in

December -- some prominent local Democrats are supporting Brewer.

"As a believer in pro-choice and stem cell research, I am

absolutely supporting Marilyn Brewer," Councilwoman Toni Iseman said.

Crossover voting is not without precedent in Laguna Beach.

Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 7,146 to 6,652, according

to the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

However, roughly 60 percent of local voters marked their ballots

for John Kerry in the last Presidential election, while the rest of

Orange County gave President Bush his highest margin of victory in

the country.

"Because the district is so heavily Republican, this is the one

shot Democrats and 'decline-to-states' have to make a difference,"

Ricchiazzi said. "That's the bottom line in this election."

In 2002, Laguna Beach had a total of 18,647 registered voters, and

14,522 of them voted -- 5,125 by absentee ballot.

For the upcoming election, 10 polling places will be staffed from

7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters will find the locations for this election on

the back of their sample ballots. Voters may also contact the Orange

County Registrar of Voters online or call the Laguna Beach city

clerk's office at (949) 497-0705.

QUESTION

Should voters in a primary election be able to cast ballots for

candidates outside their own party affiliation? Write us at P.O. Box

248, Laguna Beach, CA, 92652, e-mail us at

o7coastlinepilot@latimes.com f7or fax us at 494-8979. Please give

your name and tell us your home address and phone number for

verification purposes only.

CANDIDATES IN HOUSE RACE

MARILYN C. BREWER

Republican Business owner Former state Assemblywoman

JOHN CAMPBELL

Republican Businessman State Senator

BRUCE COHEN

Libertarian Realtor/small- business man

DAVID R. CROUCH

Republican Dentist

BEA FOSTER

Democrat Teacher

JIM GILCHRIST

American Independent No ballot designation

JOHN GRAHAM

Democrat University business professor

JOHN KELLY

Republican Merchant/ businessman

SCOTT MACCABE

Republican Lawyer/businessman

GUY E. MAILLY

Republican Businessman/ attorney

MARSHA A. MORRIS

Republican Realtor/ businesswoman

TOM PALLOW

Democrat Marketing consultant

MARSHALL SAMUEL SANDERS

Republican Businessman

EDWARD A. SUPPE

Republican No ballot designation

BEA TIRITILLI

Green Public school teacher

STEVE YOUNG

Democrat Small-business man/ attorney

DON UDALL

Republican Physician/surgeon/ businessman

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