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Kuehl and Shriver Move to November General Election

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

June 5, 2014 -- Two Santa Monicans are headed for what will likely be a costly, hotly contested runoff election in November for a seat on the LA County Board of Supervisors after winning the top two slots in Tuesday's primary.

Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl won with 36 percent of the vote,  while former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver finished second with 29 percent. West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran finished third with 16 percent of the vote.

The primary election was among the most costly and competitive in the history of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, with candidates raising more than $4 million to replace incumbent Zev Yaroslavsky, who has been a County Supervisor for 23 years and is termed out of office.

Kuehl, who raised $1.2 million dollars for the race so far, was outspent by Shriver, whose $1.9 million war chest included $1 million of his own money, the rest coming in donations of $300 or less.

Despite out-spending Kuehl in the race and airing expensive television ads, Shriver managed to garner 34,509 votes to Kuehl’s 43,348 votes and spent about $58 for every vote received.

Some political observers believe that the record low 14 percent voter turnout Countywide -- just 12 percent in the District -- as well as Kuehl’s role as the establishment candidate may have played a part in her victory.

"Primary voters are typically more ideological and issue oriented than those who vote in the general election," said Lance Blakesley, an associate professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University.

"It could have been that Kuehl was much more attractive of a candidate because of her experience, the backing of the Democratic Party establishment and is seen as the more issue-oriented candidate,"  he said.

"That's not to say that Shriver isn't, and he'll definitely give Sheila a run for her money in November," he added.

Kuehl was the first openly LGBT lawmaker to join the California Legislature. Over 14 years, she sponsored 171 bills, all of which signed into law, including those establishing paid family leave and increased nurse-to-patient staffing ratios.

Kuehl believed she had an edge in part because she had represented a large part of the 3rd District as a state senator.

“I feel very gratified to be in first place,” Kuehl said. “And I’m thrilled, but I’ve represented so many of these voters over the years, and I think they felt a certain amount of confidence in me, and I think this demonstrates it.

Shriver served on the Santa Monica City Council from 2004 to 2012.  He believes the upcoming campaign will be as tough as the primary.

“We’ve all been running hard,” Shriver said. “We’ll just run hard again, right through to November, and hope that the people hear our story, and that we’ll win.”

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors manages an annual budget of about $25 billion and represents some 10 million constituents. Supervisors wield both executive and legislative powers and are in charge of implementing county, state and federal programs.

They administer the budget of the independently elected sheriff, are in charge of dozens of departments and serve on boards providing law enforcement, emergency response, health care, welfare, affordable housing, environmental protection, animal protection and mass transportation.

Kuehl and Shriver will go head to head in a runoff election on November 4. The winner takes office December 1.

The 3rd District includes Santa Monica as well as most of the San Fernando Valley, the Westside, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and the Pacific Palisades.

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