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GOP candidate Elan Carr has a no-labels strategy in West LA Congressional 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

Warning: political ads for the June primary are airing.

It’s six weeks until election day, but don’t be surprised if you start stumbling upon TV ads – even in the expensive L.A. market.

Elan Carr, an Iraqi war veteran and Deputy L.A. County District Attorney, is running in the 33rd District currently occupied by retiring Congressman Henry Waxman. Carr has started running an ad on cable channels, saying he wants to "end the gridlock and cut wasteful spending."

What Carr doesn't mention is that he's a Republican in a district where the GOP is a decided minority.

Carr says his campaign is about "issues, not labels" and that "stressing party affiliation over issues runs contrary to my entire approach."

He does have some experience negotiating with Democrats: his wife is one, which Carr's bio touts on his campaign website. But, as in his TV ad, it's hard to discern his party membership.

Carr's strategy is clear: hope that the 17 other candidates in the race — including prominent Democrats Wendy Greuel and State Sen. Ted Lieu, and popular author Marianne Williamson, running without party affiliation — will split the liberal vote and allow Carr to sneak into the runoff. 

The 33rd District is 44 percent Democratic to 29 percent Republican, but Carr says his polls show 87 percent of voters in the district are fed up with Washington. He describes the district as “people who care very much about community” and insists he offers the “change they so desperately crave.”

Carr, the son of Jewish immigrants, could also appeal to the district's Jewish voters, who typically go to the polls in large numbers.

Carr qualified last week for the first level of the Republican National Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program. GOP candidates who survive their primary can qualify for cash and other campaign help if they meet fundraising and other criteria. Carr says he's "just getting a sense" of what the designation means for his campaign.

Carr's $50,000 buy puts his ad on nearly a dozen cable stations, including Fox News, AMC, and the Food Channel. 

And he's not the only candidate in the race who has started running ads: radio show host Matt Miller, a Democrat who was an economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, is also launching his TV ad campaign this week.