In an unusual display of political unity, two Republicans and four Democrats joined together Wednesday to enter the race against the man they all hope to oust from office--Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
It was a strange sight as five of the candidates showed up at the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office to file their papers together. Because of work obligations, another Democrat filed earlier in the day and a seventh candidate said he will formally enter the nonpartisan race today.
"We came down to show our unity and our diversity and our determined goal to replace Mike Antonovich," said candidate Sally Chase Clark, who was active in Santa Clarita's successful cityhood drive.
They already shared one goal, and Wednesday was the day to share their names. Some of the candidates hadn't met each other. And, when one candidate rushed in late while photographers were snapping pictures, no one seemed to know who he was.
The common denominator for these seven novice politicians is their enthusiastic support of the goals espoused by a grass-roots group called the Coalition for Planned Growth and Responsive Government. The coalition, composed of homeowner activists, was formed recently to encourage disenchanted voters to run against Antonovich, who the group feels is beholden to land developers and unresponsive to most constituents.
In an interview, Antonovich defended his record and branded his challengers as mavericks who do not represent mainstream voters.
'Group of Dissidents'
"You have a group of dissidents within the homeowner associations," Antonovich said. "However, they do not speak for all those associations."
The candidates' goal is to force Antonovich, a two-term incumbent, into a November runoff election by splintering the primary vote June 7. Antonovich needs 50% of the votes to avoid a later showdown in the sprawling 5th District which includes most of the San Fernando Valley, the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, the Las Virgenes area, Glendale and Pasadena.
Acknowledging that they are underdogs, the candidates believe a group attack is the only realistic way to defeat Antonovich, who has the capacity to raise millions of dollars against a serious challenge. The supervisor, for instance, received nearly $750,000 in campaign contributions in 1987, an off-election year, according to finance reports.
The challengers, who have little money, are relying on volunteers and free media attention to spread their message. Antonovich, a Republican who won handily in 1984 with little opposition, said he will be fighting back with television and radio advertising.
The four Democrats who filed election papers Wednesday were Clark, 48, a secretary from Canyon Country; Don Wallace, 47, a Los Angeles City fire captain from Calabasas; Peter O'Neil, 25, manager of a marketing firm from Pasadena, and Glenn Bailey, 32, an Encino resident who coordinates a reading program at California State University, Northridge.
Democrat Jose Galvan, 45, chairman of the Valley chapter of the Mexican-American Political Assn., said he will file his election papers today.
The two GOP challengers are Robert N. Benjamin, 41, an insurance attorney from Glendale, and Martin A. C. Enriquez-Marquez, 27, a doctoral student from Pasadena.