In the race to replace Sheila Kuehl on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, early returns Tuesday night showed three candidates in the lead.
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), West Hollywood City Councilman Lindsey Horvath and State Sen. Henry Stern (D-Malibu) were significantly ahead of the rest of the field for the seat of the 3rd District, which covers much of the San Fernando Valley and the Westside.
Unless a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two will move to a runoff in November.
In the 1st District, which includes much of East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, incumbent Hilda Solis had a wide lead over four challengers, early returns showed.
The other three candidates from the 3rd District are Jeffi Girgenti, a small business owner, Craig Brill, a canine recreation provider, and Roxanne Beckford Hoge, a business owner and actress.
“I’m very encouraged,” Hertzberg said of his lead. “My message about taking responsibility and dealing with the tough issues of homelessness and public safety, I think resonated with voters.”
Stern’s campaign called the results “a nail biter” on Tuesday night.
Horvath said she was “very excited” about her position.
“The diverse coalition of support we’ve built is the right kind of way forward to ensure that every person in LA County who needs help and support gets it,” she said.
County supervisors are sometimes referred to as the “five little kings” because of their unglamorous but powerful jobs controlling an annual budget of nearly $39 billion in a county of more than 10 million people.
The lines of their districts were redrawn by a committee of citizens last year, with some conservative parts of the San Fernando Valley joining the 3rd District.
Homelessness and crime, along with the high cost of living, were among the defining issues in the 3rd District race, which became competitive after Kuehl announced she would not seek a third term.
Hertzberg called for massive bond action to help people buy homes, while Horvath emphasized setting aside a percentage of new homes for low- and middle-income families.
Stern and Horvath called for the closure of the Aliso Canyon gas facility, which was the site of a massive leak in 2015, while Hertzberg took no position on the issue.
The election was marked by the contrasting backgrounds and personalities of the candidates, as well as their generational and geographical differences.
Hertzberg, 67, served in the state Assembly from 1996 to 2002, then was elected to the state Senate in 2014, representing a district in the eastern San Fernando Valley. In debates and forums, he highlighted his experience.
In Sacramento, Hertzberg was nicknamed “Huggy Bear” for his love of hugging that made some women uncomfortable. In 2018, three lawmakers accused him of initiating unwanted hugs and he was reprimanded by the state Senate Rules Committee.
Stern, 40, was the first millennial elected to the state Senate in 2016, representing Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Simi Valley and western parts of the San Fernando Valley. He said as a relatively young politician he would bring new ways of thinking to the oversight board.
Horvath, 39, was elected to the West Hollywood City Council in 2015 after serving as an appointed council member between 2009 and 2011. She said her experience in local government made her better equipped to be a county supervisor than her opponents.
The latest campaign documents show Hertzberg raised more than $1.1 million, Stern raised $900,000 and Horvath raised $800,000.
As of May 21, a separate political action committee for Horvath had raised $130,000.
Two committees for Hertzberg combined raised about $1.4 million, mostly from law enforcement and construction unions, while a Service Employees International Union committee supporting Stern raised about $58,000.
Los Angeles Times