About 303,000 registered voters in the 34th Congressional District in Los Angeles have a chance to pick their next U.S. House member on Tuesday, and the choice is between two largely like-minded Democrats battling over who's more liberal than the other.
Whomever voters pick will represent the district at an especially disruptive time in the country's history, with decisions on the line that could have consequences stretching for decades.
The contest is between state Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez and former Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner Robert Ahn, an attorney. Both are sons of immigrants — Gomez's family immigrated from Mexico and Ahn's from South Korea. They have similar views on charter schools, immigration reform and the environment.
But the two candidates' experiences do differ — Gomez has been in the state legislature since 2012, Ahn has worked at private law firms and for his family's business — and a close comparison of their political views shows some divisions.
If history is a guide, the winner could hold the seat for a long time. Xavier Becerra, the district's former congressman and now California's attorney general, served 12 terms in Congress. The deep-blue district was one of a handful in California that voted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary last June.
The district, covering communities stretching from Eagle Rock to the Ninth Street Junction and from Koreatown to El Sereno, has a high poverty rate and struggles with major infrastructure, homelessness and crime problems.
Like much of Los Angeles County, district voters have a record of participating in low numbers: in the primary race, when Gomez and Ahn joined a field of 23 candidates, just 14 percent of registered voters cast ballots.
On Tuesday, polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters also can cast early ballots this weekend from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at three locations in the district. The locations also serve as drop off locations — if you bring your completed vote by mail ballot, you can skip the line. Additional information is available on the county's elections website.
Candidates' stands on key issues
Below is a breakdown of the candidates' positions on major topics. For additional information, you can also check out KPCC's candidate survey based on questions put to Ahn and Gomez before the primary.
Voters can also read more on the race in our Voter's Edge guide, a collaboration with MapLight and the League of Women Voters' of California Educational Fund. Just type in your address and a sample ballot appears with links to information on the candidates.