17 vie for Calif. House seat; Cleveland mayor advances
Orange County election seen as contest between conservatives, moderates
IRVINE, Calif. -- Seventeen candidates in Southern California's heavily Republican Orange County competed yesterday in a special election for the nation's only open House seat, a vacancy created when Representative Christopher Cox left to become chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The race was expected to become a contest between the conservative and moderate factions of the GOP.
State Senator John Campbell, a conservative former car dealer endorsed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was considered the front-runner.
But Marilyn Brewer, a former state assemblywoman who has kept her distance from President Bush and emphasized her support for abortion rights and the environment, hoped to upset Campbell with support from moderate Republicans, Democrats, and independents.
In other races around the country yesterday:
In Albuquerque, Mayor Martin Chavez was poised to become the first incumbent reelected in city history, while an effort to increase the minimum wage to $7.50 an hour from the current $5.15 under state and federal law was narrowly ahead.
In Cleveland, first-term Mayor Jane Campbell and Frank Jackson, City Council president, advanced to the Nov. 8 mayoral election after beating a field of five fellow Democrats and a Republican in a nonpartisan primary. Jackson was the top finisher with 19,873 votes. Campbell was next with 15,374 votes, according to unofficial returns. Jackson has support from the city's business community and has contended that the city isn't as safe under Campbell. The city's first female mayor was hurt by a tough economy that contributed to police, fire, and teacher layoffs. In the Orange County congressional race, third-party candidate Jim Gilchrist, a cofounder of the Minuteman Project, which has organized volunteer patrols along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigrants, threatened to siphon off support for John Campbell among GOP conservatives.
The seat came open when Cox, a conservative 16-year veteran of the House from Newport Beach, was tapped by Bush to head the SEC.
The state Democratic Party endorsed trial lawyer Steve Young, but he was not given much of a chance. Only 27 percent of the district's voters are Democrats. The top finishers from each party would advance to a runoff in December if no one won a majority yesterday.