LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — As Election Day approaches, the battle for Los Angeles County supervisor is shaping up to be one of the hottest races of the season.
The seat held by Zev Yaroslavsky represents roughly 2 million residents in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Malibu.
The two candidates running for Yaroslavsky’s seat, held by a political fixture who has served on the Board of Supervisors’ 3rd District since 1994, are Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver.
While both candidates have aggressively used Yaroslavsky’s name in their campaigns, with both seeking his endorsement, Yaroslavsky continues to remain nonaligned.
“When I meet with Zev, and we’ve had breakfast several times, we talk policy,” Kuehl said. “If he were to say ‘This is my choice,’ I think it would make a big difference.”
Shriver’s campaign had created something of a controversy with an advertisement over the issue of Yaroslavsky’s stance in this year’s race, which the longtime public figure says generated a false impression that he had endorsed Shriver.
Yaroslavsky reacted by stating that he has not endorsed either candidate, and he demanded that the ad be pulled.
“He felt it created a misimpression, and I’m sorry about that,” Shriver said. “I talked to him and apologized to him. I think, look it’s a campaign, people do a lot of stuff. The ad is run. We don’t have the ad.”
Nearly $8.5 million has been raised between the two campaigns, with Kuehl raising $4 million and Shriver raising $4.4 million, through 3rd District fundraising, according to the Los Angeles County Clerk’s office.
Kuehl says that Shriver conducted himself as a gentleman throughout his campaign — until recently.
“He was a gentleman right up to the general election, and I think he started to get scared, because his mail and his TV ads have been very, very negative,” Kuehl said.
Shriver countered that statement by saying that he was simply trying to highlight factual aspects of her history.
“I think we’ve tried to show her record, to contract her record,” Shriver said. “I mean, naturally, when you run, you only talk about the good things you’re doing. The great thing about competitive race is that your opponent talks about things that are not so good.”
The winner of the seat will become one of five supervisors who control an annual budget of $26 billion and oversee over 100,000 employees.
Throughout her campaign, Kuehl has focused on her experience of 12 years as an elected official in Sacramento, and she has compared it to Shriver’s eight years on the council in Santa Monica, saying that “this is not an entry-level position”.
“I think it’s unfair,” Shriver said. “I think Santa Monica runs a bus company that carries 40 million people per year. I don’t think Sacramento runs a bus company.”
Both candidates, meanwhile, take pride in notable backgrounds.
Shriver is of the Kennedy legacy, as his uncle was President John F. Kennedy. Kuehl’s background was in Hollywood, having played the popular character of Zelda on the television sitcom “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” (1959-1963).
“Zelda was a very popular character; she was the only girl on television at the time that was allowed to appear to be smart,” Kuehl recalled.
When asked if she had to act to play such a smart character, Kuehl laughed, and said: “I think I’m pretty smart, but that would be for other people to say.”
The election is set for Nov. 4.