Six candidates will be on the ballot for a special primary election Tuesday, September 13th, to fill a vacancy in the California State Assembly 53rd District created by the death in June of Assemblymember Mike Gordon.

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

Greg Hill, a Republican from Redondo Beach, is on the ballot even though he dropped his campaign after he had qualified to have his name on the ballot.

The election will be an open primary, allowing voters to vote for any of the candidates, regardless of party affiliation.

If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote plus one vote in the primary, the top vote getters from each political party will face off in a general election Tuesday, November 8th.

The primary candidates are:

Mary Jo Ford, a Republican businesswoman, anesthesiologist and educator from Manhattan Beach who owns her own pain management company and has written articles on pain management and taught on the subject.

She is fluent in Spanish and French, and also has a degree in international relations.

Greg Hill, a Republican insurance and financial planning businessman from Redondo Beach, is a former Redondo Beach mayor and City Council member who lost the 53rd District seat to Gordon last year.

Although he has dropped out of the race, his name still appears on the ballot.

Ted Lieu, a Democrat, is a Torrance City Council member who is also a major in the Air Force Reserves and served on active duty for four years in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.

He was Gordon’s campaign chair last year.

n Paul Nowatka, a Republican, is a Torrance City Council member and a retired police lieutenant who was with the Torrance Police Department for 33 years.

He was elected to the Torrance City Council in 2000 and currently serves as chair of the Torrance City Council Citizen Development and Enrichment Committee.

James Smith, a Peace and Freedom Party candidate, is a community labor organizer from Venice and a former treasurer for the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council. He ran unsuccessfully for the State Assembly 53rd District seat last year.

Paul Whitehead, a Republican, is a schoolteacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District who lives in Venice.

As Republican nominee in the 36th Congressional race last year, Whitehead received 33.5 percent of the vote in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Democrat Congresswoman Jane Harman.

He also filed papers but did not run in this year’s race for an open seat in Los Angeles City Council District 11, a campaign ultimately won by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl.

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