For 40 years, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has ensured that the Democratic Party owned West Los Angeles. But after a tough re-election fight in 2012 and the likely prospect of remaining in the minority in the Republican-controlled House for the foreseeable future, Waxman retired. Now, Breitbart News has learned, it is possible that the June 3 primary to replace him could fail to advance any Democrats to the November general election.
Polling data obtained exclusively by Breitbart News indicates that Republican Elan Carr is near a “statistic[al] dead heat”–i.e. within the margin of error–with two Democratic frontrunners, State Sen. Ted Lieu and former Los Angeles city controller Wendy Greuel.
When voters are read descriptions of the candidates, including Carr’s ballot description of “criminal gang prosecutor,” he has a significant lead over his major likely opponents.
In addition, of the 18 candidates in the “blanket” or “jungle” primary, Carr is the first to launch a television ad. The 30-second spot, “Doing What’s Right,” emphasizes Carr’s focus on crime and education, highlighting his record as a JAG officer in the U.S. Army and a deputy district attorney in L.A.
The ad does not mention Carr’s party affiliation, but instead focuses on boosting his name recognition–critical in the 18-candidate melee.
Elsewhere in the district, independent candidate Marianne Williamson–who leans to the left of her Democratic rivals, and was the first to challenge Waxman before he retired–leads fundraising among all candidates, with over $1 million raised thus far, and is already the most visible candidate on the ground in parts of the district, with volunteers handing out information at local malls and posting signs and posters in commercial areas.
With Carr leading from the right, and Williamson from the left, the remaining candidates–including some ten Democrats–are fighting to gain traction.
Sen. Lieu has won the endorsements of the state Democratic Party and several key unions.. However, he has also evoked strong opposition. Bill Bauer of the Santa Monica Daily Press ripped Lieu’s record this week, concluding: “Lieu isn’t the politician I want representing me on federal matters.”
Greuel is also running as an establishment candidate, vowing to continue Waxman’s legacy. Yet both Greuel and Lieu were eclipsed by upstart David Kanuth, an L.A. County public defender, who led all candidates in first quarter fundraising. Soon all of the leading Democrats will be taking to the airwaves in an effort to distinguish themselves–yet, as the Los Angeles Times recently observed, they tend to hold “similar views on most issues.”
The Democratic frontrunners also face a potential backlash, as newcomers such as Kristie Holmes and Barbara Mulvaney allege that the party leadership is setting financial boundaries to protect political insiders. With the Democratic Party squabbling publicly about the electoral process, and the leading Republican and independent candidates focusing on boosting name recognition, Waxman’s “safe” seat may not be as safe as once thought.
Under California’s relatively new primary system, all candidates compete in a common primary, with only the top two finishers proceeding to the general election. In the recent past, that has allowed Republican candidates and independents to split the Democratic vote in an otherwise heavily Democratic area.
It is possible, with Carr and Williamson making the most of their early advantages, that no Democrats would survive the primary in Waxman’s 33rd congressional district.