Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Southern California primary races to watch

In one of the most competitive races in the June 3 primary, Candidates Bobby Shriver and Sheila Kuehl are two Santa Monica residents running against each other for the Board of Supervisors.
In one of the most competitive races in the June 3 primary, Candidates Bobby Shriver and Sheila Kuehl are two Santa Monica residents running against each other for the Board of Supervisors. Shriver Campaign/Kuehl Campaign

The field of candidates has firmed up with the close of nominations in elections in the June 3 primary. Here is a roundup of some of the notable and most competitive races.

Los Angeles County

In the First District, which includes the eastern part of Los Angeles County, former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is the best-known and best-funded candidate in the race. El Monte Councilman Juventino Gomez and April Saucedo Hood, a law enforcement officer from Pico Rivera, are also running.

The Third District representing west Los Angeles County is expected to be far more competitive. Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver and former state legislator Sheila Kuehl lead the list of eight candidates, which includes West Hollywood Councilman John Duran.

The race for county sheriff is likely to be hard fought, and six of the seven candidates have already clashed in their first debate. The candidates include former undersheriffs, a self-proclaimed whistle-blower and a few outsiders.

The county assessor's race has 12 candidates, including Bell Councilman Nestor "Rick" Valencia and seven deputy assessors, raising the question of whether much assessing will get done during the primary campaign. Assessor John Noguez is not running for re-eleection and has been on leave while facing charges alleging he took bribes in exchange for lowering tax assessments. Acting Assessor Santos Kreiman is not running.

Related: View a list of candidates for Southern California congressional seats

The Calderon Political Family

The Calderon family has been a political force in Southwest Los Angeles, but recent charges against brothers Ron and Tom Calderon might make things dicey for two other members of the clan who are running for office.

Charles Calderon is a candidate for Superior Court judge, facing just one other candidate for the 48th district bench. It's Carol Rose, a deputy district attorney who prosecutes child molestation cases.

Charles is the father of Assemblyman Ian Calderon, who is running for reelection in the 57th District. He is also brother to Sen. Ron Calderon, who is facing charges of accepting $100,000 in bribes. Ron is not running for reelection. Charles' brother, former assemblyman and now consultant Tom Calderon is also named in the money laundering conspiracy case along with Ron.

Los Angeles area Congressional seats

At least 21 candidates are running in the Westside 33rd Congressional District to succeed retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, led by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Redondo Beach) and former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel, a Democrat.

Seven Democrats are running to succeed Sen. Ted Lieu in the coastal Senate District 26, making for a competitive race. They include Betsy Butler, who served a single two-year term in the Assembly, Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth, Santa Monica-Malibu school board member Ben Allen and activist attorney Sandra Fluke.

Inland area Congressional seats

In the Inland area 35th Congressional District, which is now represented by retiring Republican Rep. Gary Miller, two Republicans and four Democrats appear headed for the ballot. Before Miller had announced he was retiring, Democrats had targeted him as among the most vulnerable Republicans in the House.

This district is nearly half Democrat, but the Democrats split up the primary vote in 2012, leaving Miller and another Republicans with the largest blocs of votes, taking them to the general election.

A similar scenario could replay this primary with four well-known local Democrats in the race. Leading the Democrats in the battle for the top two places on the ballot is Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, who has been endorsed by the state party. Attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes, whose campaign launched with the support of Emily's List, a pro-women candidate PAC, has been picking up support. A national Democratic PAC had initially supported Aguilar, but then backed off to neutral as Reyes picked up endorsements.

Former Rep. Joe Baca, who represented part of the district before being ousted by Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod in 2012, says he is relying on his name recognition to take a top-two spot in the primary. San Bernardino Unified School District trustee Danny Tillman is also running. Neither Tillman nor Baca have collected much in campaign donations so far, while Aguilar and Reyes are each in the half-million dollar range. The Republicans in the race are businessman Paul Chabot and Lesli Gooch, a businesswoman who served as a policy director for Miller.

The 31st Congressional District is being vacated by Freshman Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Ontario. Sen. Norma Torres (D-Pomona) is a leading succession candidate.  Torres has risen rapidly up the political food chain from her days as Pomona mayor, winning an Assembly seat in 2008 and then replacing McLeod in the state Senate in a special election in 2013. Other candidates are business owner Christina Gagnier and entrepreneur Scott Heydenfeldt.

Rep. McLeod is in a four-way race for an open seat for supervisor in the west end of San Bernardino County. She's got more than $900,000 stashed in a campaign account left over from her days in the state legislature. (Under federal campaign rules, the money could not have been used in a Congressional reelection race.) The other candidates are Republican Assemblyman Curt Hagman, Ontario Councilman Paul Vincent Avila and Chino Valley Unified School District Board member James Na.

Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly listed Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch among the 26th District Senate candidates.

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