Campaigns

Abby Sewell
February 1, 2016

Campaign finance reports filed Monday gave a glimpse at the strength of candidates running for two open seats on the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

The seats held by longtime Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Don Knabe are up for grabs this year as both are being forced out by term limits.

Monday’s filings show Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander holding a narrow lead in fundraising in the race for Antonovich’s seat and U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn with a strong lead in building a war chest in the run for Knabe’s seat.

This year’s election will continue a power shift that began with the 2014 elections, as newly implemented term limits begin to take effect. Before that, sitting supervisors had held onto their seats on the board for two or even three decades.

The election will probably also continue a leftward tilt in the board’s politics. Although officially the seats are nonpartisan, Antonovich and Knabe are Republicans, and the other three board members are liberal Democrats. A win by Hahn would give the board a four-member supermajority of liberal Democrats.

The county government manages a $28-billion budget, represents 10 million constituents, and runs massive public health, social service and criminal justice operations. The county has the nation’s largest local jail system, child welfare system, and second largest municipal health system.

The race to replace Antonovich in his sprawling north county district, which includes the Antelope Valley and parts of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, is hotly contested. Ten candidates have filed statements allowing them to raise campaign money for the seat. Monday’s campaign filings covered fundraising and spending for all of 2015.

Englander reported raising $905,006 throughout the year, with $324,436 of that coming between July and December.

He received strong support from business and development interests and from a number of private-sector unions, as well as from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1277, which represents public transit workers.

Kathryn Barger, Antonovich’s chief of staff, came in close behind, raising $832,104 in all of 2015 and $317,147 in the second half of the year. Barger garnered support from some county employee unions, including those representing physicians and probation officers, as well as from a number of individual county employees and department heads.

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