LA County BOS-5 Candidates

Candidates for LA County Supervisor, from top left, Kathryn Barger, Elan Carr, Mitchell Englander, Bob Huff, Raj Kahlon, Billy Malone, Ara Najarian and Darrell Park.

By Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 05/27/16 – 6:18 PM PDT |

Political observers are hedging their bets in the high-stakes race to replace Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who is being forced out of his 36-year post due to term limits.

Days before the June 7 primary election, several of the race’s eight candidates are considered formidable contenders to become one of the most powerful political brokers in the region and state, experts said.

“The whole race is a coin toss,” said Luis Alvarado, a Los Angeles-based Republican political consultant. “There are some very strong candidates that are staking out their own (supporters from different areas of the district), but nobody has seemed to come out as a clear front-runner.”

A two-tier race for Antonovich’s 5th District seat appears to be emerging, with about half of the candidates having access to a significant amount of financial resources and support, with the others still having “a puncher’s chance” but more of an uphill battle, said Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.

According to him, those in the top tier are Antonovich’s longtime chief-of-staff Kathryn Barger, gang prosecutor Elan Carr, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander and state Sen. Bob Huff, R-San Dimas. Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian may be climbing to that level as well though time is running out, Schnur said.

These five candidates happen to be Republicans in a district where registered Democrats outnumber GOP voters by 10 percentage points, according to Political Data Inc., though the seat is nonpartisan. The top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff on Nov. 8, if one candidate does not garner a majority of votes in the June primary.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, with its $28 billion-a-year budget, ensures county services are delivered to its citizens, passes ordinances and rules that govern public conduct and serves as the appeals board for many land-use issues.

The sprawling 5th District, which covers some 2,800 square miles, includes the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and parts of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

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