EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA.com) — The retirement of Henry Waxman leaves a long list of prospective candidates to take his congressional seat in the 33rd district.

Waxman, who took office in 1975, is stepping down after 40 years in congress.

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Of the 18 candidates, shortly after 11 p.m., State Senator Ted Lieu was reported to have 20 percent of the vote, while the only republican in the race, Elan Carr, reportedly had 24 percent.

Carr, a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and United States Army veteran, had the lead according to reports at about 11:10 p.m. Tuesday.

Lieu, considered a front-running candidate, was holding his election party near Los Angeles International Airport.

“(Lieu) has been out there on healthcare, on education, on the environment, and he’s the strongest progressive voice in this race,” Lieu supporter and Miracle Mile Democratic Club member Michael Kapp said. “Ted’s been really busy calling up voters. He’s been on the phone constantly, he’s been out doing events, and meeting with them one on one, and really getting the vote out and getting the word out and making sure that people know that there’s an election going on today and that Ted Lieu is the best person for this job.”

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Lieu, meanwhile, said that he feels good, but tense.

“We’re in a good position,” Lieu said. “The absentees came out and so I’m pleased where we are, but it will be a long night. I’m proud to have represented a district for many years, helped turn California from a sixty billion dollar deficit to a two and a half to five billion dollar budget surplus. We now have the lowest unemployment in six years, and it’s clear to me our best days are yet to come.”

In third place is former mayoral candidate and LA Controller Wendy Greuel, reporting 18 percent of the vote.

Greuel said she wants to stand up for equal rights, well-paying jobs, and affordable healthcare.

“I’ve been out all day, everywhere from Agoura and Calabasas and Malibu and Beverly Hills, south, everywhere talking to people, and they all said ‘we voted for you today, we’re with you, Wendy’, and I’m so encouraged by that,” Greuel said.

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