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Eric Cantor endorses GOP candidate Elan Carr in crowded Westside race

Republican Elan Carr is running for the Congressional seat being vacated by the retiring Henry Waxman.
Republican Elan Carr is running for the Congressional seat being vacated by the retiring Henry Waxman.
Elan Carr for Congress/Facebook

Prosecutor Elan Carr has found a way to stand out in a crowded field of 18 candidates running for a Westside Congressional seat. Carr, a Republican, on Monday secured the endorsement of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Carr is one of three Republicans running to succeed retiring Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman.

"It shows that the campaign is viable," said John Van Winkle, communications director for Carr's campaign. Van Winkle said he expected more Republican House leadership endorsements within the week for Carr, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney. Former L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley has also endorsed Carr, an Iraq war veteran.

Those endorsements, while helpful to establish Carr as a leading Republican in the primary, do not mean he will get substantial Republican Party financial backing just yet, Van Winkle said. Such donations are more likely to come if Carr places first or second in the June 3 primary and advances to the November general election.

The wealthy coastal district stretches from Palos Verdes Peninsula to Malibu and extends inland to Beverly Hills. It is considered a safe Democratic district, with nearly 44 percent of voters registered Democratic. About a quarter of registered voters in the district are registered with other parties or decline to state their affiliation.

Carr's challenge in the primary is to pull in most of the district's 27 percent of voters  who are Republican to secure a place on the runoff ballot, while 10 Democratic candidates and other independent and third-party candidates splinter the vote among themselves. In California, the top two vote-getters advance to the runoff regardless of party affiliation. 

State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel are the top Democratic candidates. Spiritual educator and author Marianne Williamson is running a high-profile campaign that is not affiliated with any party.

Attorney Lily Gilani and environmental health advocate Kevin Mottus are the other Republican candidates.

Campaign finance statements for the first quarter of the year will be public later this month. Van Winkle said the campaign had not yet decided whether to release Carr's fundraising reports ahead of their official release on the Federal Election Commission's website.