Karen Bass frontrunner for House seat

The upcoming June 8 elections may only be primaries. But in the 33rd District, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 6 to 1, the winner of the Democratic primary is a shoo-in to be elected.

Other primary races throughout the state have gotten heated. But retiring Rep. Diane Watson, 76, seems to have a clear successor in current State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, whom Watson endorsed.

Bass also received endorsements from a host of other politicians, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Maxine Waters, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas – not to mention Magic Johnson.

Several factors prevented the race from turning into a more contentious campaign, like the one Watson won after the death of Rep. Julian Dixon, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Among them:

-Watson’s last-minute announcement came as a surprise to would-be candidates

-Bass entered quickly, and was a high-profile candidate

-By obtaining the support of both Watson and many other political figures, she scared away potential competitors

“It’s not a race, because [Bass] is pretty much the consensus choice,” Cal State Fullerton political scientist Raphael Sonenshein, told the Times. “And it’s not all that surprising, given her standing.”

But several candidates are still hoping to challenge her.  Her Democratic opponents include management consultant Mervin L. Evans; maintenance technician Morris F. Griffin; Howie Mandel; Nick Juan Mostert, an attorney and legislative analyst; criminal prosecutor Felton Newell. and postal worker Sheldon J. Tobias, the LA Wave reports.

Newell, who studied law under now-President Obama at the University of Chicago, took time off from his job to run.

He criticized Bass’s ties to special interest and said she didn’t do enough to oppose budget cuts, while Bass said she helped to save important programs.

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