A competitive field of candidates is fighting to win the open 30th Congressional District seat as incumbent Rep. Adam Schiff runs for U.S. Senate.
The seat is highly sought after both for its strong Democratic base which makes it easy to hold and for its wealthy constituency, including many entertainment industry leaders, which makes it easy to make headlines and collect donations. funds.
The district is about 55% registered Democrats and 16% registered Republicans, according to the California Secretary of State. He represents the communities of Hollywood, West Hollywood, Hancock Park, Burbank, Glendale, Sunland and Tujunga.
Schiff held that seat for 23 years and used it to make a name for himself on the national stage. He is now using it as a springboard for a campaign for the US Senate, a race he is leading with flying colors.
His departure creates a regional power vacuum that many ambitious politicians are seeking to fill. It includes a mix of former and current state legislators, mayors, lawyers, policy experts and Hollywood industry players.
Four of the candidates reported raising more than $1 million by the end of 2023.
They include Sen. Anthony Portantino with $1.4 million, actor Ben Savage with $1.37 million, LAUSD school board member Nick Melvoin with $1.28 million and former Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer with $1.27 million. State Assembly member Laura Friedman followed closely with $931,000.
The top two vote-getters from the March 5 primary will move on to a runoff in November, and with such a qualified and crowded field of candidates, the race is in everyone's reach. Ballots have been mailed to registered voters and early voting begins February 24.
Here are all the candidates running for the 30th District:
Anthony Portantino (R): Portantino is the state senator from California's 25th senatorial district. Portantino is originally from New Jersey and came to Los Angeles to work in film and television production. His political career began on the La Caada Flintridge City Council in 1999, where he served until 2006, when he was elected to represent California's 44th Assembly District.
His policy priorities include public education, mental health, sound gun control, sustainability, transportation and keeping entertainment jobs in California, according to his campaign website. He was supported by California State Attorney General Rob Bonta of Los Angeles. County Federation of Labor and California Federation of Teachers, among others.
Mike Feuer (D): Mike Feuer is the former Los Angeles City Attorney. Before that, he served three terms in the State Assembly, representing the 42nd Assembly District, and as a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1995 to 2001, representing the 5th Council District. Before launching his political career, he was executive director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a nonprofit organization providing free legal services in Los Angeles.
His policy priorities include gun safety, affordable housing, LGBTQ+ equality, reproductive rights and saving democracy, according to his campaign website. He was endorsed by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Oxnard), among others.
Nick Melvoin (D): Nick Melvoin is a member of the LAUSD school board. He began his career as a public school English teacher in Watts. After being fired from his professorship, he helped lead a lawsuit with the ACLU, which claimed that LAUSD's seniority-based layoffs violated students' rights. He later became a lawyer and civil rights activist.
His policy priorities include homelessness, education, infrastructure, climate change, gun safety, reproductive rights and anti-Semitism, according to his campaign website.
Laura Friedman (D): Laura Friedman is an Assembly member representing the 44th District. Before her election to the State Assembly in 2016, she served on the Glendale City Council from 2009 to 2016 and served as mayor from 2011 to 2012. She was born in Florida and moved to Hollywood after receiving her University diploma. career as a film producer.
His policy priorities include health care, the environment, transportation, housing, workers' rights and LGBTQIA+ rights, according to his campaign website. She was supported by Abundant Housing Los Angeles and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, among others.
Ben Savage (D): Ben Savage is an actor and director known for playing Cory Matthews in the sitcom Boy Meets World. He has been a member of the SAG-AFTRA union since 1987, when he was five years old, and of the Directors Guild of America since 2014. He continues to work in the entertainment industry and in philanthropy.
His priorities include homelessness, community safety, affordable housing, workers' rights, education and health care, according to his campaign website. He was supported, among others, by screenwriters/producers Steve Jarczak, Andrew Orenstein and Justin Baxter.
Sepi Shyne (D): Sepi Shyne is the current Mayor of West Hollywood and has served on the West Hollywood City Council since 2020. She moved to the United States at the age of five when her family fled the Islamist regime in Iran. She runs a law firm specializing in business and intellectual property law and also advocates for LGBTQ+ rights.
His priorities include mental health and healthcare, housing and homelessness, workers' rights, education, climate change and immigration, according to his campaign website.
G Maebe Pudlo (R):G Maebe Pudlo is a Silver Lake elected neighborhood council member, drag queen, and transgender activist. She is co-founder of the LGBTQ+ Alliance of Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils, recognized as the first city-supported initiative for Los Angeles' LGBTQ+ community.
His priorities include a ceasefire in Gaza, LGBTQ+ rights, affordable housing, the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), racial justice, reproductive rights and universal health care, according to the his campaign website.
Alex Balekian (right): Alex Balekian is an intensive care unit physician born and raised in Glendale. He served on the front lines against COVID-19, an experience that taught him the value of resilience, adaptability and selfless service, according to his campaign website. He has been outspoken on the issue of parental rights and how LGBTQ+ identities are taught in public schools.
His priorities include education, climate change, health care, homelessness, border security, reproductive rights and affordable housing, according to his campaign website. He was endorsed by the California Republican Party, Guns LA and California Parents United.
Steve Dunwoody (D): Steve Dunwoody is the director of government affairs at Climate Nexus, an environmental advocacy group. He is a 6th generation veteran and served in Iraq as a member of the Air National Guard. After returning to the United States and graduating from college, he joined Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008 and worked at the U.S. Department of Energy during Obama's first administration. He has taught political science courses at UCLA and UC Berkeley.
Her priorities include gun safety, support for working families, climate change, affordable housing, public safety, transportation, health care and LGBTQ+ rights.
Francesco Arreaga (D): Francesco Arreaga is a legislative counsel in the United States House of Representatives, where he helped write legislation to combat gun violence and climate change. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and is an attorney specializing in international law.
His priorities include support for workers, climate change, reproductive rights, homelessness, immigration reform and racial justice, according to his campaign website.
Jirair Ratevosian (D): Jirair Ratevosian is a senior advisor for health equity policy at the U.S. Department of State. He previously served on the board of directors of the American Public Health Association and was legislative director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
His priorities include health care, education, public safety, immigrants' rights, LGBTQ+ rights, affordable housing and workers' rights, according to his campaign website.
Courtney Simone Najera (D): Courtney Simone Najera is a UCLA student and former esthetician. According to her campaign website, her interest in running for Congress stems from growing up with a single mother who suffered a near-fatal auto accident that left her with impossible-to-pay medical bills.
Her priorities include healthcare for all, affordable housing, LGBTQ+ rights, climate change, reproductive justice, and economic justice for the working class.
Josh Bocanegra (Independent): Josh Bocanegra is an entrepreneur who founded Persona, an agency that creates AI experiences for clients. He also worked at a medtech startup that researches robotics, AI, and nanotechnology.
His priorities include education, AI regulation, affordable housing, transportation, sustainability, gun safety and reproductive freedom, according to his campaign website.
Sal Genovese (D): Sal Genovese is the president of the Kingsley Drive Association, which works to develop neighborhood solutions to crime, littering and homelessness. He is a veteran and has worked in drug and alcohol treatment, education, health care, business and community organizing.
His priorities include affordable housing, health care, public safety, education, immigration and support for the working class, according to his campaign website.
Emilio Martínez (right): Emilio Martinez is a producer, writer and actor. He has written television films including Burning Little Lies and In Gods Time. His campaign website is called American Resurrection and presents him as the only conservative Republican (and Christian) in this race.
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