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First political mailer goes to voters in South Bay special state Senate election

January 20, 2011 | 11:31 am

The first political campaign brochure in the special election for a South Bay-based state Senate seat has begun landing in mailboxes. Not surprisingly, it's from former Assemblyman Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the candidate with by far the biggest bank roll so far.

Lieu, generally perceived as the frontrunner in the Feb. 15 special primary to replace the late Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach), stuck with the positive in his mailer. He touted his military, business and political experience that "will let him hit the ground running to work on the state budget" and other issues. He also featured endorsements from community leaders, including two Democrats who had briefly considered entering the race themselves -- Assemblyman Warren Furutani of Gardena and Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

Seven other candidates are on the ballot, including public defender Kevin Thomas McGurk of Venice -- the only other Democrat in the race -- and four Republicans: Manhattan Beach attorney Bob Valentine, Long Beach educator Martha Flores-Gibson, Lomita attorney James P. Thompson and retired customs officer Jeffrey E. Fortini of Hawthorne. Listed on the ballot as having no party preference are artist/publisher/community activist Mark Lipman of Mar Vista and Michael Chamness of Venice, a consultant to nonprofit organizations.

If no one wins a majority next month, there will be a runoff on April 19.

--Jean Merl