Because I was a record business executive for many years, I would sometimes find myself walking around various cities with musicians, sometimes musicians with household names. Even in cosmopolitan towns like New York, Chicago, Miami, Paris, Milan, when I’d be walking around with a pop culture star, people would gape, make comments (usually friendly), ask for autographs, ask for selfies… But not in L.A. In L.A., we leave the stars alone. It’s an unspoken rule that everyone follows. So here it’s not that big a deal that the guy who played an adolescent Cory Matthews in a ‘90s Disney sitcom that was popular with children is running for Congress in a district that includes Hollywood.
42 year old Bennett Savage decided to run for the seat Adam Schiff is giving up to run for the Senate. It’s an already crowded race and Savage isn’t getting much attention— except out of town. The Washington Post ran a story by Meryl Kornfield today. “Savage, who had filed as a Democrat in January, formally announced his bid Monday in an Instagram post,” she wrote, “declaring himself a union member, longtime resident of the district, and ‘unhindered by political divisions and special interests.’ He emphasized his newness to politics in the post. Savage previously ran for a West Hollywood city council seat in 2022 and lost with more than 6 percent of the vote, according to election records. ‘I’m running for Congress because it’s time to restore faith in government by offering reasonable, innovative and compassionate solutions to our country’s most pressing issues,’ he said.”
This is the district I live in. No one cares that the younger brother of Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years is trying to break into politics here. Not to say he’s had no political experience and isn’t even really a Democrat. In 2003 he interned for Republican Arlen Specter. And his run for the West Hollywood City Council was a big yawn and a joke. There were 3 at-large seats with 12 candidates. He came in a distant 7th.
- Lauren Meister- 6,070 (16.47%)
- Chelsea Byers- 3,960 (10.74%)
- John Heilman- 3,917 (10.63%)
- Zekiah Wright- 3,904 (10.59%)
- Robert Oliver- 3,762 (10.21%)
- John Duran- 3,702 (10.04%)
- Ben Savage- 2,330 (6.32%)
Savage’s campaign website paints a picture of a standard fare, garden variety moderate, personally well-off Democrat, ill-suited to grok– let alone represent– a deep blue, cutting edge congressional district. Like all the Democrats in the race, he’s pro-Choice, pro-LGBTQ equality, pro-union, pro-gun control, etc. But he’s more a Republican-lite, pro-business Dem than a pro-people Dem, warning about regulations, advocating, in his words, “build, build, build,” and, rather than just say he favors Medicare for All, states that “I will support and advocate for a functional universal healthcare system that works and is held accountable with checks and balances,” which has local progressives wondering if he’s really still a Republican at heart.
Blue America has endorsed the progressive in the race, Maebe A. Girl, treasurer and at-large Representative for the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, who ran for the congressional seat twice before. She’s running on a strong Bernie-like platform and is far better known in the district that most of the 10 other candidates who have already declared.
You can contribute to her campaign here or by clicking on the endorsement meme below (It’s a live link):
The declared candidates include conservative Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino; establishment liberal (except that she’s a champion of charter schools) Assemblywoman Laura Friedman; conservative son-of-a-rich Nick Melvoin (the other pro-charter school shill); Josh Bocanegra, an Andrew Yang tech-nut; Mike Feuer, the anti-marijuana advocate who was L.A. City Attorney and is extremely disliked and had to drop out of his mayoral bid last year once he started to understand that; and West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne, not quite as progressive as Maebe but somewhat more progressive than Friedman.
I spoke to Maebe earlier today and she was critical of Savage’s agenda and policy statements. Having met with him personally, she told me that he “isn’t the right person to represent CA-30 in Congress. The district votes 78% Democratic and deserves a representative who will fight for progressive change rather than enable the status quo. Criminalizing people experiencing homelessness and increasing police budgets will not keep us safer. We must work to provide permanent, supportive housing and services for people experiencing homelessness and divert police funds to social programs and housing.”