Here are a few key data points from the Hollywood Reporter's advancer on the upcoming battle to replace Henry Waxman in Congress. One, the 33rd congressional district contributed millions to President Obama's election campaigns. Two, the district hasn't been up for grabs for four decades. And three, CD 33 — which covers Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Malibu and Hancock Park — is the home of big-time Hollywood contributors such as Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban.
Thus, writes Tina Daunt, "apart from Manhattan's Upper West Side, there's nothing like California's 33rd Congressional District."
Hollywood money likely will play a key role in the June 3 primary. Candidates in the race or weighing a run include former DreamWorks executive and L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel, who lost to Eric Garcetti in the most recent mayoral election; California Secretary of State Debra Bowen; state Sens. Ted Lieu from Torrance and Fran Pavley from Agoura Hills and feminist attorney Sandra Fluke. Retiring L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a longtime Waxman ally, probably could capture the seat, but the 65-year-old has told friends he is unlikely to run. [Fluke is out.]
Greuel most likely would have support from the DreamWorks troika of Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, but her pro-business orientation and Valley background (she says she will move to the Westside) might make her too conservative for the 33rd. Moreover, her campaign could split Democrats, as did her race against Garcetti, opening the door (slightly) for one of three independents in the running. They include inspirational author Marianne Williamson and South Bay businessman Bill Bloomfield.
"Think about it: Henry has held this seat for 40 years," says Tennis Channel chief Ken Solomon, a top DNC fundraiser. "Whoever gets this district could make it a career for life."
The 33rd is one of the nation's most heavily Jewish districts, so any Waxman wannabe likely will have to be steadfastly pro-Israel. The post won't come cheap: Since 2000, Waxman, 74, personally has raised $6.6 million, the bulk of it from individual donors and PACs. During his last cycle, when he opposed the self-financed Bloomfield, Waxman spent $2.7 million, which translates to a heady $15.50 a vote. (House winners in 2012 spent an average of $1.5 million.) There is no bargain real estate on the Westside -- not even its House seat.
Waxman will be taking a well-stocked political war chest into retirement if he chooses. From Shane Goldmacher at National Journal:
In the last quarter of 2013, Waxman outpaced more than 90 percent of his House colleagues as he raised $371,347. It was the California Democrat's biggest fundraising quarter of the year, and it left him with $757,269 in the bank.
Now that he's leaving Congress, Waxman won't have to spend any of that money on campaigning. Instead, he is free to use the account as a political piggy bank to dole out campaign contributions to friends and allies on Capitol Hill after he leaves office.
Such an account could prove especially useful if Waxman, 74, decamps to K Street, as so many of his predecessors have, where his former colleagues will almost certainly dial him up for donations.
Cropped Hollywood Reporter graphic