In fact, Furutani has deep roots in the community. He was born in San Pedro, although he was reared in Gardena and now lives in Harbor City. His grandparents worked on the docks at Terminal Island until they and other Japanese Americans were rounded up and sent to interment camps in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
While Buscaino has focused his campaign on his hometown, Furutani has made a push for voters in other parts of the district, about half of which he already represents in the Assembly.
He hopes his background as a community organizer and civil rights activist will help him connect with working-class Latinos and African Americans in Wilmington and Watts -- areas he says the city has given short shrift.
He has held campaign events at several Watts public housing projects along with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles).
Furutani got his political start in 1987, when he was elected to the Los Angeles school board. During his time in state office, which he won in 2008, he has helped secure funds to rebuild a bridge in the Port of Long Beach and bring the battleship Iowa to Los Angeles Harbor.