Conan Nolan, Troy McLaurin
More than a dozen people are vying for soon-to-be-retired Henry Waxman's seat in the 33rd Congressional District. Conan Nolan reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. from the Pacific Palisades Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
It is the kind of election befitting one of the nation's wealthiest Congressional districts -- 17 candidates, lots of money and no shortage of movie star endorsements.
There's even a new-age guru running.
Welcome to California's 33rd Congressional District, which includes Malibu, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Calabasas and Palos Verdes. It is predominantly white, rich and liberal, and for 30 years this has been the base for Rep. Henry Waxman, a staunch defender of the current administration and tireless interrogator of the previous one.
But there was evidence the district had grown tired of the incumbent. Waxman, against a Republican no less, received a smaller percentage of the vote in his district than President Barack Obama did in 2012. That may be a key reason for his surprise retirement.
Like the rest of the so called "jungle primary," the job here is not victory but survival. Everybody votes and party affiliation means nothing.
It is highly possible that the top two finishers who will face off in November will be Democrats. The conventional wisdom suggests a face-off between former LA City Controller Wendy Greuel and California State Sen. Ted Lieu.
Greuel is coming off an exhaustive campaign for mayor, a race she lost to then-Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti. Her strength is in the west San Fernando Valley, which also is part of the district.
Lieu is a respected California lawmaker. He has strong support in Torrance and the southern part of the district, which is part of his Senate district.
Both candidates have money and name recognition, but that pairing is only one scenario. Consider the rest.
Google Marrianne Williamson and you'll find one of this election's more interesting candidates. She's an author and new-age spiritual healer. Her web site touts not events, but "appearances." She's friends with Oprah, Deepak Chopra and has a campaign song written by Alanis Morissette, and she has a lot of followers but most don't live in the 33rd District.
Then there's Iraq war vet and deputy District Attorney Elan Carr. Carr is a Republican, and while members of the party might be a minority in the district, there are enough of them to put an "R" in the runoff.
Lawyer Matt Miller, who received the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times, and defense attorney David Kanuth also are running for Waxman's seat. Kanuth has raised enough money from Hollywood friends to finance TV ads that reach a whole bunch of people who don't live in the district.
No polling has been done (other than private polling by campaigns) and an expected low turnout makes the race difficult to handicap. Suffice it to say that almost everyone is hoping they make the runoff, and that they draw Carr as their fall opponent.
Democrat versus Democrat in a Democrat district will be difficult and costly. Facing a Republican in the home of Henry Waxman will be far easier, cheaper and nostalgic.