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Jewish Journal

Jewish Candidates Fill County Ballot

by Tom Tugend

February 26, 2004 | 7:00 pm

Jewish candidates will be well represented in the March 2 election, with incumbents in Los Angeles County expected to sail through with no -- or token -- opposition in the Democratic and Republican primaries.

At the top of the ballot -- after the presidential candidates, among whom the departed Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) is still listed -- is U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has no competition on the Democratic side.

There also is no Democratic competition facing the county's five Jewish Congress members, Brad Sherman (Sherman Oaks), Howard Berman (North Hollywood), Adam B. Schiff (Burbank), Henry A. Waxman (Los Angeles) and Jane Harman (Venice).

These five, who make up 28 percent of Los Angeles County's 18 House members, represent the largest congressional Jewish contingent of any county in the United States, according to political expert Howard Welinsky. While New York City may have a larger overall Jewish total, each of its boroughs counts as a separate county.

In the November general election, Sherman will face attorney Robert M. Levy, who is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Running for an open state Senate seat is Assemblyman Alan S. Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

One of the liveliest Assembly races is shaping up for the open seat in the 47th District. After the last reapportionment, the predominant African American population lost some demographic ground to mainly Jewish concentrations in Cheviot Hills, Pico-Robertson and Westwood.

The three black front-runners, Karen Bass, Nate Holden and Ricky Ivie, have been courting the Jewish vote, which is likely to determine the outcome in the Democratic primary, Welinsky said. Also competing in the same district is Democrat Richard Groper, a California State University political science professor and active member of Congregation Mogen David.

Among other Assembly races, Democratic incumbents Paul Koretz (West Hollywood), Lloyd Levine (Van Nuys) and Jackie Goldberg (Los Angeles), as well as Republican Keith Richman (Granada Hills), are unopposed in their respective primaries. In November, Levine will face Republican Mark Isler, a public school teacher, who faces no opponent in his primary, noted Michael Richman of the local Republican Jewish Coalition.

In additional Assembly contests, Ontario City Councilman Alan Wapner is a Republican contender in the 61st District, while in Orange County, Republican Todd Spitzer (Orange) is up for reelection.

Twelve members of Democrats for Israel are in the race for seats on the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee, and about an equal number are vying to serve as delegates to the Democratic National Convention, said Welinsky, who chairs the organization.

In a contest that is drawing some national interest in the Bay Area, Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos (San Mateo), the only Holocaust survivor serving in Congress and a champion of Israel, is again opposed by Palestinian American attorney Maad Abu-Ghazalah.

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