With the primary election approaching, the candidates running for state office feel optimistic about their chances of getting on the November ballot. “I know what a winning campaign feels like and this one feels like a winner,” said Mike Feuer, a former Los Angeles City Councilman who is one of five Democratic candidates running for the 42nd District Assembly seat. Voters go to the polls June 6 to elect the Democratic candidates seeking positions from the governor, secretary of state, treasurer, controller, attorney general, assembly members and senators as well as U.S. representative and senator. In the Valley, the greatest focus has probably been on the state senate race between Los Angeles City Councilman Alex Padilla and Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez. The two are vying to fill the seat to be vacated by State Senator Richard Alarcon who is being termed out. Padilla said he has been getting his message out by walking door-to-door or making phone calls from his campaign office. “People are very familiar with my record on the city council,” Padilla said. “I pride myself with not only being able to work with everybody and I’ve demonstrated that over time to get things done for the Valley.” Attempts to reach Montanez or a representative from her campaign were not successful. Tom Hogen-Esch, an assistant professor in political science at California State University Northridge, said that in the Valley races there isn’t all that much to differentiate the state office seekers. Yet, Hogen-Esch added that the Padilla-Montanez race was the most interesting because it pits two up-and-coming Latino politicians against each other. “What it comes down to is who can come up with the best ground game,” Hogen-Esch said. That ground game is powered by money and organization. For the reporting period between Jan. 1 and March 17 the most recent records available from the Secretary of State’s office Padilla had raised $359,000, while Montanez only got about half that amount, $157,717. But where Montanez gets a boost is in her endorsements, Hogen-Esch said. The “star power” of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plus the backing of the Los Angeles County Federal of Labor could possibly tip the balance to Montanez, he added. “They have the organizational capacity to get out the vote, to make the phone calls, pay for issues ads and driving people to polling booths,” Hogen-Esch said of the labor union. While a non-profit business group such as the Valley Economic Development Center does not endorse candidates, its President Roberto Barragan said there were a number of credible candidates running from the Valley. Richman on ballot “We are very fortunate to have Alex Padilla considering a position at the state level,” Barragan said. “The possibility of (Assemblyman) Keith Richman a big friend of the Valley and a proponent of fiscal responsibility to be state treasurer is a positive.” Richman is one of two candidates running for the Republican spot on the November ballot to be state treasurer. The VEDC works with all the elected officials from the Valley, to get funding from the city, state and federal levels. Federal funding alone coming into the Valley has been about $5 million over the past four years, Barragan said. “By working with Cindy and Richard Alarcon, we were able to keep a state guaranteed loan program in the face of severe cutbacks,” Barragan said. At the eastern end of the Valley, Paul Krekorian and Frank Quintero are vying to fill the seat being vacated by Democratic Assemblyman Dario Frommer who is termed out. Krekorian, an attorney who currently serves on the Burbank Unified School District Board, said he has been getting support from the business community because they see him as someone who understands their needs because of his role as general counsel for small businesses and working on copyright and trademark cases. If elected, Krekorian said education would be his top priority. As a school board member, the Burbank district had success in turning around the schools and he would attempt the same on a statewide basis, Krekorian said. “If we are going to continue to flourish as a world-class economy we are going to need world-class employees and that is where schools and universities come in,” Krekorian said. Attempts to reach Quintero were not successful. Burbank resident Michael Agbaba is the Republican candidate in that race, and Steve Myers the Libertarian Party candidate. Five challengers In the 42nd Assembly District five candidates are challenging each other for the Democratic nomination although Feuer and West Hollywood City Councilwoman Abbe Land are generally considered the frontrunners. Feuer, Land and challenger Mark Gonzaga all identified education and affordable health care as issues relevant to the business community. The 42nd District includes parts of Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Studio City, Toluca Lake and Valley Village. Current Assemblyman Paul Koretz has been termed out. Land has been endorsed by the chambers in West Hollywood and Hollywood, as well as the Small Business Association of California. “They know I’m always willing to listen to thoughts and ideas,” Land said. “It’s important to have a thriving business community. You don’t have to sacrifice quality of life for a thriving business community and vice versa.” If elected, Feuer said he would press to get more funding for transportation projects to move goods and people easier around the city and work to eliminate deterrents, such as high housing costs, that keep companies from wanting to locate or remain in the state. The remaining Democratic candidates are Eric Michael Fine, a marijuana legalization coordinator, and Cynthia Toussaint, a non-profit organization director. Steven Sion and Clark Baker are running in the primary as Republicans, and Colin Goldman is the Libertarian Party candidate.
Candidates Go Into Home Stretch for Primary Campaign