The District 3 race between state Sen. Bob Hertzberg and West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath so far has attracted $7.2 million in campaign donations. As of the latest filing deadline, Hertzberg leads the money race by nearly $5 million, raising more money than all other countywide races this election cycle, including outraising both sheriff’s candidates combined. Full reporting of donations less than $1,000 are expected just days before the Nov. 8 election.
The winner of this race will replace outgoing third district representative Sheila Kuehl on the county’s Board of Supervisors. This five-person board makes decisions for the nation’s largest county, including how the $44.6-billion budget is allocated for all county services including the Sheriff’s Department, road repairs, and the county library system.
The supervisors serve four-year terms, with half the board up for election every two years. District 1 Supervisor Hilda Solis, won her reelection outright during the 2022 primary — meaning District 3 is the only vacancy voted on this November.
The third district represents liberal enclaves such as West Hollywood and the more conservative San Fernando Valley. Hertzberg recently retired from representing the San Fernando Valley in the state Legislature. Horvath previously served as West Hollywood mayor and currently serves as a West Hollywood City Council member.
Horvath leads in donations from District 3 residents, with nearly 63% of her money from within the district. Seventy percent of her donations are from individuals instead of businesses or committees. One of her largest donors is the Mani Bros., West Hollywood developers that own five luxury office buildings in the neighborhood.
In addition to donations from the neighborhood, she has accepted funds from other local elected representatives, including Supervisors Solis and Holly Mitchell and Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffery Prang. Horvath has received some endorsements from Sacramento , including that of Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles).
In contrast, Hertzberg has raised less than 5% of his funds from District 3, and only a quarter of his donations are from individuals. Most of his funds have come from elsewhere in the county and Sacramento. At least $72,000 has come from his colleagues in Sacramento.
In addition to monetary support from Sacramento, Hertzberg has received endorsements from high-ranking federal and state officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and at least 33 of his colleagues in the state Senate and Assembly. At the local level, he has received endorsements from West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister, a colleague of Horvath on the City Council, and county Supervisor Kathryn Barger among others.
The Board of Supervisors controls how much funding the sheriff gets and who is appointed to the Citizens Oversight Committee, which oversees and investigates the Sheriff’s Department. One of the starkest ways the candidates differ is how each views the role of policing.
Hertzberg has made a priority of his campaign increasing the number of officers and police funding. He states on his website “we can’t play political games with the safety of our communities. We need more police on our streets and while prioritizing community policing, greater collaboration between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
During a panel hosted by Radio KBLA on Sept. 12, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that he thinks two members of the incoming board will work with him and that he was waiting to see who would come out of the third district.
At the time of writing, 10 police unions have endorsed Hertzberg and at least eight have donated at least a combined $1.4 million to his campaign for supervisor.
Horvath voted to cut sheriff’s deputy positions in West Hollywood and introduced a resolution in 2021 that denounced the sheriff’s investigation into Kuehl and Peace Over Violence executive director Patti Giggans.
Horvath has received campaign donations from Kuehl, Giggans, and the union representing Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees. She has not received additional donations from other members of the Peace Over Violence executive board. When asked about her endorsements from Kuehl and the MTA employees union, she said that she has received many endorsements, including from Supervisors Mitchell and Solis.
In addition to police support and funding, the candidates differ on ballot Measure A, which asks voters to decide if the Board of Supervisors can fire the sheriff with a 4-to-5 vote. A spokesperson for Hertzberg said that the candidate supports criminal justice reform but opposes Measure A. Horvath said that she supports the measure.
Police unions are not the only large spenders in this race, other unions and pro-developer groups are also donating significant sums of money to elect Hertzberg. He has not only received the L.A. Labor Fed endorsement he has also received over $1.3 million in donations from organized labor groups. Horvath has raised just $42,800.
Both candidates have passed union friendly and pro-worker legislation during their time in office. Hertzberg introduced labor-friendly bills such as workplace protections for whistleblowers and victims of workplace discrimination. Horvath passed legislation giving a $17.64 minimum wage to hotel employees.
Over $200,000 has been spent by Planned Parenthood and other women’s political groups to elect Horvath to the council. Horvath has a background in organizing around women’s rights issues. She founded the West Hollywood chapter of the National Organization of Women. She has also been endorsed by the California Women’s list, Planned Parenthood, and other women’s groups. However, special interest campaign mailers, funded by a housing PAC with major funding from the California realtors association and the California Apartment association have produced a flyer showing the candidate with antiabortion comments. Horvath, a Catholic, has gone on the record in the past saying that she believes life begins at conception but that she believes that women should have access to legal and safe abortions. She said, “being pro choice means every person gets to make that very personal, very private decision for themselves.” She added the flyer was a personal and untrue attack on her religious faith by special interest groups.
The flyer was put out by a real estate PAC not associated with Hertzberg’s candidate committee or primarily formed committee.
Times staff writer Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.