CITYWIDE – There will be a lot of races to watch tonight thanks, in part, to two men who aren’t running.

The three seats in the three fiercest races that Santa Monicans will vote on in tonight’s primary election are up for grabs thanks to the retirement of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Santa Monica) and the term limits imposed on L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

Former State Senator and Assemblyperson Sheila Kuehl has been running to fill Yaroslavksy’s seat since January of last year. Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver waited until this January to get into the race but holds the most cash, with $1 million coming from his own pocket. West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran has less cash than Shriver or Keuhl but has picked up some notable recent endorsements, including that of the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Other candidates include Pamela Conley Ulich, Doug Fay, Yuval Daniel Kremer, Rudy Melendez, and Eric Preven.

Unlike the other two tight races someone could, in theory, walk away with the title of supervisor this week. If one of the candidates receives a majority of the votes, it’s over. If not, the top two vote getters advance to face of in the General Election in November.

When Waxman announced earlier this year that he would retire at the end of this term, it seemed like every politician in the region was considering a run. What’s left is a relatively open field with no obvious favorite. Best-selling author Marianne Williamson was running before Waxman announced his retirement and has raised the most cash. Former Los Angeles City Controler Wendy Greuel and State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Santa Monica), who jumped in the race just days after Waxman’s announcement, have perhaps the best name recognition. David Kanuth, a former Los Angeles public defender, has raised nearly $1 million as of his last filing. The L.A. Times recently endorsed Matt Miller, a journalist and the KCRW radio host of the political debate show, “Left, Right & Center.”

It’s an open primary, which means that the top two candidates advance, even if one scores a majority vote.

It also means that all the candidates face off, regardless of party.  A Republican, L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Elan Carr, stands a good chance of advancing assuming the Democrats in the race split the votes.

There are more than a dozen other candidates.

With Lieu jumping into the congressional race, his State Senate seat became available. Candidates include Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education member Ben Allen, Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth, former State Assemblyperson Betsey Butler, reproduction rights activist Sandra Fluke, urological surgeon Vito Imbasciani, television writer Patric Verrone, attorney Barbi Appelquist, and attorney Seth Stodder.

The top two candidates will face off in the General Election later this year, even if someone manages to gain a majority of the vote.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

If results are not available by press time, The Daily Press will provide coverage of results online at www.smdp.com.

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