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District 4 runoff: An AirTalk debate

Cerritos Public Library
Republican Steve Napolitano (L) and Democrat Janice Hahn (R)
Republican Steve Napolitano (L) and Democrat Janice Hahn (R)

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wields tremendous power, so the races to fill its two open seats are worth watching this November. Voters will decide who will replace Supervisors Don Knabe and Mike D. Antonovich – 4th and 5th District representatives, respectively, and the current Board’s only two Republican members. This October, AirTalk will host live, conversational debates for each of these potentially game-changing races.

Democrat Janice Hahn and Republican Steve Napolitano are facing off for Knabe’s seat in the u-shaped 4th District, which stretches south from Marina Del Rey to Long Beach and back northeast through Diamond Bar. Hahn, who finished first in the June primary, just shy of the majority needed to win the seat outright, is the U.S. representative from California’s 44th district and a former L.A. city councilwoman. She is also the daughter of former county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. She is campaigning for her father’s former post. Napolitano, who came in second with 37 percent of primary votes, is Knabe’s chief deputy and a former Manhattan Beach mayor. Hahn was endorsed by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti; Napolitano was endorsed by Supervisor Knabe. Both candidates have raised more than $1 million; Napolitano has largely self-funded. 

Managing a $28 billion budget, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors carries political influence that cannot be overstated. It runs the nation’s largest jail and foster care systems as well as its second-largest public health system. It plays a major role in building – and funding – the county’s government workforce. While the five-member Board is officially nonpartisan, the outcome of November’s election has the potential to shift the powerful panel’s politics to the left. Since Antonovich and Knabe, the only Republican supervisors, are terming out, the 2017 Board could hold the first liberal “supermajority” in modern history.

Hahn and Napolitano were separated by only 10 percent of votes coming out of the June primary. And with the higher turnout and volatility that presidential elections bring to their down-ballot cohorts, this race is sure to stay heated.

Join AirTalk host Larry Mantle on Tuesday, October 25, for a lively debate between Hahn and Napolitano. In good AirTalk fashion, Mantle will engage the candidates in casual yet substantive conversation about the issues and livelihoods at stake. Hear each candidate’s visions before making your November choice.

Voting has begun in California! KPCC can help you develop your Voter Game Plan and navigate the in and outs of your state and local ballot.