Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Redistricting opens door to independent challenger in coastal district

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Redistricting has opened the door to challengers in what used to be safe Congressional seats. One of those districts runs along the coast from Malibu to Manhattan Beach, where a veteran Democrat has been challenged by a political novice who isn't claiming any party affiliation.

Congressman Henry Waxman spent his Sunday meeting voters at local farmers markets, from Beverly Hills to Pacific Palisades.  Most recognized him, one man calling out, "Good luck Henry!" as he walked past the produce.   

That happens a lot. Waxman has served for nearly four decades in Congress.  Gerald Ford was in the White House when he first arrived on Capitol Hill.  But Waxman hasn't had a serious challenge in years. Until now.

Bill Bloomfield, whose father made a fortune with coin operated laundry machines, jumped into the race — funding most of his multi-million dollar campaign himself. He’s running as an independent, saying the two major parties are at a stalemate. 

"I'm worried if they don't figure out how to be civil, talk and negotiate with each other," Bloomfield says, "our country's future is not good."

Waxman says Bloomfield was a Republican until last year, contributing to both the Mitt Romney campaign and to House Speaker John Boehner. Waxman says he's "a proud Democrat" and doesn't "pretend to be anything that I'm not."

Bloomfield says he paid to attend a Boehner event, where he shared an idea with the Speaker about deficit reduction: "If my purpose was to finance the Republican Congressional committee I would have written a larger check."


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