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Incumbents Running on Firm Ground : Politics: There's gloomy predictions for officeholders across the country. But analysts say that won't be the case in Democratic strongholds in Central Los Angeles.

October 30, 1994|MARY HELEN BERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Across the country, political pundits are predicting that incumbents will be defeated at every level of government Nov. 8. But in Central Los Angeles, analysts say, that will not be the case.

In local districts, some of which are up to 88% Democratic, races are traditionally decided in the primaries, and Republicans seem to run for the exercise.

That sums up the picture this year, although some local elections aren't completely ho-hum. One race to watch is the 37th Congressional District, where Rep. Walter R. Tucker III (D-Compton), who was indicted last month on 10 counts of federal extortion and tax evasion, faces Libertarian Guy Wilson, a merchant seaman.

Tucker is almost guaranteed a victory in the district, which includes Compton, Willowbrook and parts of Athens and Los Angeles and is 77% Democratic, but observers are curious about whether his winning margin will be affected by negative publicity.

ASSEMBLY / 45th District

* Area: Parts of Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park and Silver Lake.

* Registration: 63% Democrat; 21% Republican.

* Background: This district, with a 63% Latino population, has elected Latino Assembly candidates since 1972. Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa won a bitter primary battle with 49.6% of the vote and is expected to clean up in this heavily Democratic district. He would replace Richard Polanco, who vacated the seat to run for the state Senate.

(CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION)

* Antonio Villaraigosa (D): Teachers' representative

* Robert K. Jung (R): Engineer

* Pam Probst (Lib.): Teacher

ASSEMBLY/46th District

* Area: Pico Union, parts of Koreatown and Downtown Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles.

* Registration: 66% Democrat; 20% Republican.

* Background: In an area where most residents are Latino and Democrats, Louis Caldera, a freshman assemblyman and former deputy county counsel, is virtually unbeatable.

(CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION)

* Louis Caldera (D): Assemblyman

* Yongchul Yang (R): Businessman

* William R. Williams (P&F): Retired truck driver

ASSEMBLY/47th District

* Area: Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Culver City and Palms.

* Registration: 76% Democrat; 14% Republican.

* Background: Gwen Moore vacated this seat in an unsuccessful bid for secretary of state. In this fairly affluent and overwhelmingly Democratic stronghold, Kevin Murray should sail to an easy victory. He would join his father, Assemblyman Willard H. Murray (D-Paramount), to become the Legislature's first father-son team.

(CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION)

* Kevin Murray (D) Attorney

* Jonathan Leonard (R) Fire commissioner/businessman

ASSEMBLY / 48th District

* Area: Exposition Park, Watts, part of Downtown Los Angeles.

* Registration: 88% Democrat; 5% Republican.

* Background: Democrat Marguerite Archie-Hudson faces no opposition again in her quest for a third term.

(CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION)

* Marguerite Archie-Hudson (D) Assemblywoman

ASSEMBLY / 50th District

* Area: Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Commerce, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate and Vernon.

* Registration: 68% Democrat; 20% Republican

* Background: This is solid Democratic turf, where up to 98% of residents are Latino. Martha M. Escutia, considered a rising star, should coast to a second term against her 1992 Republican opponent, Gladys O. Miller, and Peace & Freedom candidate Alma B. Strowiss.

(CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION)

* Martha M. Escutia (D): Assemblywoman

* Gladys O. Miller (R): Government employee

* Alma B. Strowiss (P&F): Printer

SENATE / 22nd District

* Area: Parts of Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Pico Union, Westlake and Boyle Heights.

* Registration: 64% Democrat; 21% Republican

* Background: Art Torres vacated this seat to run for insurance commissioner. The traditionally progressive area overlaps with Democratic candidate Richard Polanco's old Assembly district. A four-time assemblyman, Polanco rankled some supporters by endorsing his aide, who is Anglo to replace him in the Assembly. But his name recognition in this Democratic territory should mean a solid win.

(CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION)

* Richard Polanco (D) Assemblyman

* Ron T. Lee (R) Doctor

* Vincent Way (Lib.) University fund-raiser

* Pearl Wolff (P&F) Social worker

SENATE / 26th District

* Area: Culver City, Inglewood, Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, West Adams, Leimert Park, Hyde Park and Crenshaw.

* Registration: 80% Democrat; 10% Republican.

* Background: In the strongest Democratic Senate district in the state, three challengers may slightly split the vote but it is unlikely they will shake Diane E. Watson in her bid for a fifth term.

(CANDIDATE: OCCUPATION)

* Diane E. Watson (D) State senator

* Joe Piechowski (R) Businessman

* Bob Weber (Lib.) Motion picture technologist

* Yassin A. Saededdin (P&F) Hotel manager

SENATE/30th District

* Area: Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, most of South El Monte, South Gate, Vernon, Walnut Park and parts of Whittier.

* Registration: 65% Democrat; 24% Republican.

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