VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — The race for the District 6 seat on the Los Angeles City Council is getting increasingly hot, as incumbent Nury Martinez tries to hold onto the seat she won 18 months ago, but is coming under attack from the woman who lost that race, Cindy Montanez.

At what may be the one and only debate in the race to determine who represents the mostly working-class San Fernando Valley district, the knives were out this week, as Montanez, a former state assembly member, and Martinez went on the attack.

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“You voted for someone, for the person, who wasn’t a lobbyist for DWP and making over $200,000,” Martinez said during one exchange.

“That’s a lie. That’s a lie,” Montanez said.

“All the dirty, negative mail that you’re going to get about me, read it,” Montanez said later. “See who’s funding it. It’s the guy she’s giving or paying her mortgage for. That’s unacceptable. That’s unethical. I don’t believe in it.”

Hundreds of supporters of both candidates packed the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council meeting hall, and cheered with gusto. At one point it sounded more like a football game crowd after a touchdown.

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This year’s election is a rerun of the race a year and a half ago in which Montanez won the primary but then Martinez won the runoff — and the council seat.

“My standards are to make sure that I am addressing the issues that the community wants to get addressed, like human trafficking, sidewalk repair,” Martinez said.

“The crime has gone up, the highest increase in violent crimes was in Van Nuys, in our district,” Montanez said. “That’s unacceptable.”

Loyola Marymount University political science professor Fernando Guerra, the head of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles, said this may be a tough decision for voters because the two candidates politically speaking are pretty close together.

“These are two, I think, very good candidates. They have both held elective office, they both represented this area,” he said. “They are both Latino, they are both female, they are both in their early 40s. There are no wedge issues. They are both liberal Democrats.”

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With only two candidates the winner of the March 3 primary election will win the District 6 seat.