Politics

Special election is tomorrow — here's what early vote-by-mail returns show

(File photo) California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra. A crowded field of 23 candidates are now vying for his seat representing the 34th Congressional District.
(File photo) California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra. A crowded field of 23 candidates are now vying for his seat representing the 34th Congressional District.
Kitty Felde

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About 300,000 registered voters in the Los Angeles area have a chance to pick their next Congressional representative on Tuesday in the special election to replace Xavier Becerra, who is now California's attorney general. 

"It's getting a lot more attention than, you know, your average Congressional race," said Paul Mitchell, vice president of the bipartisan data vendor Political Data. "We don't see a lot of these open Congressional seats at all ... that's kind of a rarity in California."

The district includes communities like Westlake, Mount Washington and Koreatown. You can look up your polling location and check if you're in the district via the county's website.  

The pool to choose from is large: 23 candidates, mostly Democrats, are competing for the seat. (For more information on the candidates you can check out KPCC's candidate survey).

In terms of fundraising there are three clear leaders: Candidate Robert Ahn tops that list, he’s a former LA City Planning commissioner.

The second place spot belongs to State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, who’s landed Becerra’s support and the endorsements of many well-known Democrats.

Sara Hernandez – a lawyer and former LA Unified teacher — is coming in third.

Michell has been watching the early Vote by Mail ballot returns. He says turnout is so far trending higher than the March election in L.A. County, which was very low. Countywide turnout of registered voters was 17.09 percent. The mayor's race had 20.05 percent turnout. 

"It’s possible that we’ll see a little bit of a surge in turnout simply because people are engaged in politics and thinking about politics more," Mitchell said. 

Early numbers, according to Mitchell, show that Korean Americans are participating are outpacing other voters at a rate of three to one, which could indicate strong early support for Ahn. His parents immigrated to Los Angeles from South Korea.

Polls open tomorrow at 7 a.m. If you’re voting by mail, those ballots have to be postmarked by tomorrow.