Rep. Jane Harman (D-Marina del Rey) formally launched her reelection bid last week, vowing to about 200 supporters that she would "keep coming through" to maintain aerospace jobs and defense contracts for her district.
She was joined at the Torrance Civic Center rally Friday by aerospace executives, union leaders, city officials and members of United We Stand, the grass-roots organization formed during Ross Perot's election bid. It was an attempt to show that she had bipartisan support in a district that is split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats.
Harman, who spent $1.6 million on her successful 1992 bid to win the seat against Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, predicted the 1994 campaign would be expensive as well. She already has almost $500,000 for the race (in 1992, Harman spent $823,000 of her own money in the race).
Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Susan Brooks and former Palos Verdes Estates Councilman Ron Florance will face off in the Republican primary in June. Two other Republican candidates, Greg Cornell and Jerry Laws, have taken out nomination papers but have not returned them. The deadline is Friday.
A technicality has forced Rancho Palos Verdes psychiatrist Irwin Savodnik to drop out of the race.
A statewide election code prohibits candidates from entering a party primary if they have switched parties in the past year, Savodnik said. He switched from Democrat to Republican last July. The code even bars him from running as an independent.
Savodnik had already spent $286,400 in personal funds on his campaign, making him No. 2 nationwide among those using their own money to win a seat in the House, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.
Florance, a developer and investment banker, has spent $150,000 in personal funds, Roll Call reported, and Brooks, $13,200.
Harman's opponents have attacked her vote for President Clinton's budget plan last year, saying that it showed she was willing to raise taxes.
But speaking to reporters before her rally, Harman predicted that an improved economy in the fall will show "that it proved to be a wise vote."
Opponents also have called Harman a "carpetbagger" for moving to the district shortly before the 1992 election race after years in Washington as an attorney and counsel in the Carter Administration.
"The voters didn't buy it last time, they won't buy it this time," she said, noting that she grew up in the Los Angeles area and maintained ties to her family here, even when she was in Washington.