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Filing closes for two L.A.-area state Senate races

The Feb. 15 primary will be the first under the state's new 'top two' system, which also will let voters choose among all candidates.

January 04, 2011|By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times

Filing closed Monday for special elections in two local state Senate districts, the first to be held under California's new "top two" primary system.

The new system allows voters in the Feb. 15 special primaries to choose among all candidates, who for the first time had the option of stating a preference among political parties recognized by the state or listing themselves as nonpartisan. If no one wins a majority in the special primary, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will advance to a special runoff April 19.

As of the 5 p.m. deadline, just two candidates had filed in the 17th Senate District, which covers parts of Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. One is former Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster), who seeks to succeed her husband, Sen. George Runner, also a Lancaster Republican; he resigned after winning election to the state Board of Equalization in the fall. The other candidate is Democrat Darren W. Parker of Lancaster.

By contrast, 10 candidates filed for the South Bay's 28th Senate District seat, according to records posted by the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office. The vacancy in this heavily Democratic district occurred when veteran state Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) died shortly before the Nov. 2 election and was reelected posthumously.

Only two candidates listed themselves as nonpartisan: Michael T. Chamness of Venice and publisher-community activist Mark Lipman of Los Angeles.

Four Republicans, three Democrats and one Libertarian also filed.

The Republicans are educator and business owner Martha Flores-Gibson, who ran for a Long Beach Assembly seat in the fall; Jeffrey E. Fortini of Hawthorne; James P. Thompson of Lomita; and businessman-attorney Bob Valentine of Manhattan Beach.

Among the Democrats, former Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance already has lined up most of the endorsements from local Democratic elected officials. He will be joined on the ballot by author-consultant Mervin Evans of Los Angeles, who has run for various offices many times, and by Kevin Thomas McGurk of Venice.

Libertarian Peter "Pedro" De Baets of Los Angeles also filed.

Election officials cautioned that the field could shrink if any candidate fails to qualify based on paperwork or voter signature issues.

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