The Daily Breeze: Meet the Candidates for Ted Lieu’s State Senate Seat
By Kurt Gonska on March 09, 2014
By Brian Sumers, Daily Breeze
If you need a primer on the three major candidates for the South Bay’s state Senate seat this year, you need look no further than the endorsements each candidate has collected.
Sandra Fluke, a women’s rights activist and attorney from West Hollywood, is the outsider, racking up endorsements from the likes of national figures such as Gloria Steinem, and state interest groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice California.
Meanwhile, Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth has picked up support from local mayors as well as city council and school board members and state legislators, while former Assemblywoman Betsy Butler is touting support from unions and local and state officials with strong name recognition.
Not surprisingly, the three candidates — all Democrats — say they have earned the right mix of endorsements to compete in the 26th Senate District, which Ted Lieu, a candidate for Congress, now represents. The newly redrawn district starts in the Palos Verdes Peninsula and hugs the coast until Pacific Palisades. In the district’s northern part, it turns eastward, encompassing Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and part of Hollywood.
In addition to Steinem and NARAL, Fluke, who has never run for office, boasts endorsements from state Sens. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara and Carol Liu of Glendale, as well as from Sarah Weddington, an attorney who successfully tried the Roe v. Wade case before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Christine Pelosi, a Democratic strategist and daughter of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Obviously, it has been incredible to get endorsements from national icons like Gloria Steinem and Sarah Weddington, but endorsements from some California Democratic and veterans affairs leaders were also really meaningful,” Fluke said in an email.
Fluke also bragged about an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn of San Pedro, though that one is a little complicated. Howorth claims she, too, was endorsed by Hahn. Apparently, Hahn endorsed Fluke before Howorth entered the race. And when Howorth joined, Hahn switched to a joint endorsement.
“If I had been in the race, I think it would just be me,” Howorth said.
Howorth’s other endorsers include Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, Redondo Beach Mayor Steve Aspel, Manhattan Beach Councilman Wayne Powell and Manhattan Beach school board President Karen Komatinsky. Howorth previously served on the Manhattan Beach Unified School District board.
“When it comes down to do it, these people know me and have worked with me, and that’s a pretty great tribute to the work I have done,” Howorth said. “There’s no deals that have been made. This is about the work that we have done together.”
Butler, who represented a different Assembly district from 2010 to 2012 before losing re-election, has support from a wide group, including actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr., civil rights leader Dolores Huerta and Los Angeles Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. A strong supporter of labor unions, she has also received support from the association representing police at Los Angeles International Airport and the California Professional Firefighters, whose affiliates represent 30,000 firefighters and paramedics statewide.
Andrew DeBlock, a spokesman for Butler, said he expects more well-known figures will pick sides in the 26th District.
“I don’t believe national leaders are done weighing in in this race,” DeBlock said.