Democratic state Sen. Gary K. Hart of Santa Barbara is seeking reelection to a third term.
Although Democrats hold only a narrow lead in registration in the coastal district, which stretches from Malibu to Santa Barbara, Hart is a popular legislator in the area. He narrowly lost a race for Congress in 1988 against Rep. Robert J. Lagomarsino (R-Ojai).
In the Senate race, he faces Republican businesswoman Carey Rogers of Santa Barbara.
Hart's legislative accomplishments this year include the enactment of a law to make state grants available to individual schools for specific projects approved by parents, teachers and administrators. The measure is meant to encourage innovation and decentralization of local school districts.
He also sponsored legislation that, starting in 1993, requires that plastic trash bags sold in the state be made at least partly from recycled plastics. Another Hart measure boosts efforts by local air quality control districts to combat pollution with funds from an added $2 to vehicle registration fees.
Rogers, who is making her first attempt at elected office, has called for a restructuring of the Legislature to "eliminate waste and inefficiency."
"We have a Legislature that is controlled by lobbyists and political action committees," she said. "It passes thousands of bills, and yet basic problems aren't being solved."
Hart enjoys the backing of a variety of political action committees and special interest groups, including those representing organized labor, oil companies, doctors, developers, accountants, bankers, beer and wine wholesalers and horse race tracks.
Libertarian Jay C. Wood is again on the ballot.
Staff writers Josh Meyer and Ron Russell and Times librarian
Joyce Sherwood assisted with this report.
18TH SENATE DISTRICT The district: Malibu, Ventura County and Santa Barbara County.
Candidate: Gary K. Hart (inc.)
Candidate: Carey Rogers
Candidate: Jay C. Wood
Voter Registration Registered Percent Democrats 147,487 46.9% Republicans 126,338 40.2 Independents 32,704 10.4 Minor Parties* 7,863 2.5 Total 314,392
* American Independent, Peace and Freedom, Libertarian and miscellaneous
1986 Results Votes Percent Sen. Gary K. Hart (D) 117,410 65% DeWayne Holmdahl (R) 59,650 33 Jay Wood (Lib) 2,771