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Perennial GOP Candidate Looks at New District : Politics: Consultant who guided career of an old adversary is enlisted by Jim Salomon to help him run for Congress in the proposed 24th District.

December 15, 1991|ALAN C. MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Perennial Republican candidate Jim Salomon says he plans to run next year in a proposed southwest San Fernando Valley and Thousand Oaks congressional district with the aid of a consultant who helped launch the career of his past, and possibly future, Democratic opponent.

Salomon, a Beverly Hills trade consultant, said last week that he has enlisted Roz Segal, a Malibu political tactician who played a major role in the first political race of Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Los Angeles) in 1963. Salomon challenged Beilenson unsuccessfully in 1988 and 1990.

The proposed new district "is 10% higher in Republican registration than my former district," said Salomon, who left this week for a 10-day political trip to Israel. "My prospects of winning are so much better."

In moving across the Santa Monica Mountains, however, Salomon figures to have plenty of company. Under a court-sponsored congressional redistricting plan unveiled early this month, the proposed 24th District that will extend from Encino to Thousand Oaks has attracted the interest of prominent Democrats as well as Republicans. It is considered Republican-leaning, but potentially competitive, by political pros.

Among potential Democratic candidates are Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles), Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky and Councilwoman Joy Picus. On the GOP front, Assemblyman Tom McClintock of Thousand Oaks, former Rep. Bobbi Fiedler of Northridge and Calabasas businessman Sang Korman, a two-time Republican primary loser, are weighing a bid.

The new lines, drawn by a panel of retired judges chosen by the state Supreme Court, could be modified next month, and the Democrats plan to challenge the proposal in federal court. At the same time, the Legislature and Gov. Pete Wilson could come up with an alternative. But politicians are discounting the likelihood that such efforts will substantially change the proposed lines.

Beilenson's intentions overshadow all the Democrats' future plans.

The popular eight-term lawmaker has seen his liberal electoral base thrown into the same Westside district as Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), a political and legislative powerhouse. Both have stated their intention to run in this new and solidly Democratic 29th District, and, at the same time, their desire to avoid a costly internecine confrontation.

"Even as he feels it's his district, I feel it's mine," Beilenson said. In much of it, "they know me better than they know Henry. . . . I would hate not having any of the Westside. Almost all of our closest friends and the people I've represented for years are there."

Beilenson suggested that Waxman seek reelection in the proposed northeast San Fernando Valley seat that would include much of the current district of Rep Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City) and that Berman run in the proposed 24th District. Political insiders consider such a scenario highly unlikely.

Conversely, Waxman and Berman, partners in a powerful political alliance, say they hope Beilenson will decide to run in the 24th, which includes 55% of the registered voters in his current district.

Beilenson's plans will have a domino effect. Margolin, Yaroslavsky and Picus have all vowed not to run in the 24th District if Beilenson chooses to do so.

"I have no interest in running against an incumbent and will defer to Tony Beilenson," said Margolin, a close associate of Waxman and Berman.

Segal and her partner Joy Ellis, who generally work on Democratic or nonpartisan campaigns, will go to work for Salomon full time Jan. 1. In recent years they have handled City Council races in Malibu, Beverly Hills and Calabasas.

"A lot of my friends recommended Jim very, very highly, and we were both very impressed with him," Segal said. "Companies do all kinds of campaigns, and we really felt Jim had a good chance."

Segal helped run Beilenson's initial Assembly campaign and has remained friends with him for nearly three decades. Segal said she hopes Beilenson proceeds with his plans to oppose Waxman, but she is committed to Salomon even if he ultimately runs against Beilenson in the 24th District.

"She's a longtime friend, and I know she's in this business and that's fine," Beilenson said when told of Segal's plans. But, he added pointedly, "my other longtime friends would not be running the campaign of someone who might end up running against me."

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