Attorney Terry B. Friedman picked up key endorsements for the Assembly seat being vacated by Gray Davis and Santa Monica Republican David M. Shell abandoned plans to seek a rematch with Assemblyman Tom Hayden as the June 3 primary campaigns on the Westside took shape last week.
More than 50 candidates qualified for 12 county, state and federal posts that are up for grabs this year. Roughly half of the incumbents are unopposed in the primary. Davis, who is leaving his 43rd Assembly District seat to run for state controller, is the only incumbent not seeking reelection.
Davis' district straddles the Westside and affluent parts of the San Fernando Valley. The predominantly Democratic district is one of the Assembly's most prestigious and is known as an excellent fund-raising base.
A Democratic free-for-all was expected in the wake of Davis' decision to run for controller. But several candidates who had considered entering the primary dropped out before Wednesday's filing deadline. They included Steve Saltzman, a former aide to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, Alan Viterbi, a West Hollywood city councilman, and Jack McGrath, a Studio City real estate broker.
Friedman, director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, has been called the front-runner in the 43rd District because he received endorsements from prominent Westside-area politicians, including Reps. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City) and Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who run their own powerful political organization.
The 36-year-old Friedman, a political novice, has taken a leave of absence from Bet Tzedek, a Fairfax legal services agency that provides free legal advice to the poor, the elderly and the disabled. He said his campaign is "off to a very good start."
"I have worked hard for the last five days and I will continue to work hard for the remainder of the campaign," Friedman said. "It is hard to say at this point how we'll come out . . . but I'm proud of our support."
Friedman's Democratic opponents are Rosemary Woodlock, a Woodland Hills attorney, and Bruce Margolin, a lawyer who is Southern California coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Two candidates qualified for the GOP primary. They are Marc Philip Schuyler, a business executive, and Lou Steeg, who is retired. John Honigsfeld, the Peace and Freedom Party candidate, has no opposition.
The 44th District, which includes Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu, is represented by Hayden, whose Democratic primary opponent is Alex Cota, a businessman who challenged him in 1984.
Hayden said he will run on his "record of achievement" in Sacramento and the district. He refused to speculate on his chances for reelection, but said he would be "as active as I have to be" in the race. Cota called Hayden a "left-wing extremist" who "squandered" $2 million on his first Assembly race.
Rematch Falls Through
A possible rematch between Hayden and Shell, his foe in the 1984 general election, fell through when Shell pulled out of this year's GOP primary. Shell, an attorney, surprised many people when he filed for the race last month without consulting the local Republican party leadership.
In their last race, Shell was hurt by revelations that he had been sentenced to prison on drug charges while serving in the Air Force. He responded with a bitter denunciation of Hayden, whom he called "Mr. Sleaze."
Shell said he wanted to run again, but was forced to drop out because of job obligations. He said he may still work for Hayden's defeat. "I have taken a case that will require that I be out of the county a lot during the next 12 months," Shell said. "But I still think Hayden can be beaten."
Shell has thrown his support to Gloria J. Stout, a Pacific Palisades businesswoman who has been active in Republican Party politics for several years. Stout will face economist William Mundell in the GOP primary.
Other candidates for the seat are Neil Donner, a teacher who is running as a Libertarian, and writer Carol Berman, a Peace and Freedom Party candidate. Assemblyman Burt M. Margolin, who represents the 45th District, is unopposed in the primary. Margolin's district includes the Hollywood and West Hollywood areas.
The two Republican candidates are Gerald Broderson and Jana Olson. Both are in private business. Donald Meyer, a courier, is the Libertarian candidate. Sylvia F. Kushner is the Peace and Freedom nominee.
In the 49th Assembly District, which takes in Culver City, Venice and Marina del Rey, incumbent Gwen Moore has no Democratic primary opposition. Allan L. Feldman, a contractor, and Eric Givens, a commissioner, face off in the GOP primary. The Peace and Freedom Party candidate is Susan M. Gong.
There are three state Senate races on the Westside.
State Sen. Gary K. Hart, whose 18th District includes Malibu and Topanga, has no Democratic opposition. DeWayne Holmdahl, a supervisor, is the lone GOP candidate. J. C. Wood, who is retired, is the Libertarian nominee.