LOS ANGELES – Eight candidates will battle on Tuesday to replace Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who will have served the 5th District for 36 years before being forced out by term limits at the end of this year.
The 5th District includes the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, along with a portion of the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys and foothills, an area widely viewed as more conservative than the balance of Los Angeles County. But eligible voters will come from wide-ranging communities with diverse concerns, from Porter Ranch to Palmdale.
Antonovich is backing his chief of staff, Kathryn Barger, to succeed him. Barger also has strong backing from unions representing sheriff’s deputies and county firefighters, as well as the Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents most county employees.
But Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander has a narrow edge in fundraising, with $1.3 million to Barger’s roughly $1.2 million, based on the latest available filings.
And the field is crowded with other hopefuls, including Deputy District Attorney Elan Carr; Sen. Bob Huff, R-San Dimas; Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian; real estate investor Raj Pal Kahlon; Altadena Town Council member Billy Malone; and entrepreneur Darrell Park.
Carr and Huff are neck-and-neck in fundraising, with approximately $950,000 and $977,000 in their respective war chests. Najarian has raised $505,000. Park’s war chest holds just $64,000, while the balance of the candidates have not submitted filings or have raised less than $10,000. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they can be counted out in a race where no one candidate is likely to be able to garner a majority of votes in the primary election. The top two vote-getters will move on to the November ballot. Kahlon challenged Antonovich in 2012 with little to no financial backing and picked up 20 percent of the vote as the only other candidate.
Though it is a non-partisan seat, Antonovich may be the most conservative of the five supervisors and the race for his and Supervisor Don Knabe’s 4th District seats could significantly reconfigure the board’s politics. Of the board’s three liberal members, Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis aren’t up for re-election yet and Mark Ridley-Thomas is running unopposed.
Five of the eight candidates in competition are registered Republicans, while Kahlon, Malone and Park — who has the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party — are Democrats.
The Board of Supervisors controls a $28.5 billion budget — larger than that of most states — and provides services to more than 10 million residents in 88 cities and unincorporated areas.