In race that has drawn heavy interest from the entertainment industry, Republican Elan Carr led a long list of candidates seeking to advance to November's general election and succeed retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles).
The district, which includes Venice, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Malibu, is heavy in showbiz supporters and is considered a Democratic stronghold.
But in Tuesday's open primary, in which the top two vote getters will be on the ballot in November, the Democratic vote was split among a field of more than a dozen contenders. Just before midnight, with just over 1/3 of the precincts reporting, State Sen. Ted Lieu was second, followed by former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, a former DreamWorks executive. Trailing were Marianne Williamson, the self-help author, who ran as an independent, and Matt Miller, a public radio host who ran as a Democrat.
In the other hotly contested race of the evening, for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl and former Santa Monica city councilman Bobby Shriver appeared headed for a runoff. West Hollywood city councilman John Duran was third.
The race is to succeed longtime Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, in an area that includes the San Fernando Valley, the Westside, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades.
Kuehl was a teenage actress who starred on TV's "Dobie Gillis," and she even held a fundraiser hosted by Bruce Vilanch and Ed Begley that screened episodes from the sitcom. She was the first openly gay member of the state legislature, and served 14 years as a state senator and assemblywoman.
Shriver, meanwhile, drew the support of the DreamWorks trio of Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. He is the son of Peace Corps founding director Sargent Shriver, and served on the Santa Monica City Council from 2004 to 2012.
The top vote getter in the California's biggest race was no surprise. Gov. Jerry Brown, seeking a fourth term, will go on to the general election. He will face Republican Neel Kashkari, who edged out Republican Tim Donnelly. But Brown is expected to draw a lopsided amount of Hollywood support, as many studio chiefs held a fund raiser for him in November, before he even formally launched his re-election bid.
In Santa Barbara, Chris Mitchum, a former actor and the son of Robert Mitchum, led other Republicans seeking to advance to November and run against incumbent Lois Capps, a Democrat. Bradley Allen, a pediatrician and the husband of actress Jaclyn Smith, lagged behind.
Turnout was expected to be low, perhaps setting records for how few registered voters showed up to the polls.
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