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Filling seat for 51st Assembly District is a lesson in special elections

Five Democrats and one Republican are vying for the spot. These races are usually costly, low-turnout affairs in which multiple candidates split the vote, resulting in a second round of balloting.

August 09, 2009|Jean Merl

"This is the time when you really need people with integrity, people who are not too deeply connected to the system yet have knowledge of the system," Pullen-Miles said.

A reserve probation officer, Pullen-Miles said he would make public safety a top priority, along with reopening Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital as a full-service facility, creating more "enterprise zones" to stimulate job development and encouraging training in "green" technology jobs.

Another Democrat is Thomas Jefferson Cares, who turns 21 next month and who dropped out of El Camino College to independently study public policy. He has been campaigning energetically, calling for structural reforms in California government, including overhauling the voter initiative system.

Also on the ballot is Democrat Mervin Leon Evans of Los Angeles, an author and business consultant who has run for many other offices, including the 26th Senate District earlier this year.

The sole Republican is David Coffin of Westchester, an education activist and former small business owner. He is especially interested in improving housing and water policies and said he is the alternative to the "same old, same old" that the Democrats are offering.

"I'm tired of nothing getting done," Coffin said.

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jean.merl@latimes.com

Data analyst Sandra Poindexter contributed to this report.

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