UPDATE: Wendy Greuel has called Elan Carr and Ted Lieu to concede. See below.
With early vote-by-mail ballots partly counted, Republican Elan Carr and Democrats Ted Lieu and Wendy Greuel are in a tight battle to replace Henry Waxman in the Westside's 33rd Congressional District. Carr has 23.4 percent, Lieu has 19.8 percent and Greuel has 18.5 percent. Spiritual guru Marianne Williamson is well back with 8.6 percent.
If those numbers hold, which is far too early to say, Carr and Lieu would face each other in a November runoff. It should be noted that there are probably dozens and dozens of ballots left to be counted (yes, turnout is looking abysmal so far).
Rounding out the field is KCRW commentator and corporate advisor Matt Miller with 8.9 percent, in fourth place. Williamson is in fifth.
[For more background, see: 8 Reasons the Race to Replace Henry Waxman Is a Mystery]
The coastal seat is being vacated by the diminutive yet universally respected Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman, who's held office since 1975 Yes, the last time he wasn't based in Washington, the Vietnam War was still going on.
His reign went virtually unchallenged until 2012, when coin-laundry king Bill Bloomfield came within eight points of toppling the mustachioed Waxman.
This year, Waxman couldn't bear the thought of another tough campaign. So he bowed out; thus the deluge of candidates.
Greuel and Lieu were the early favorites in the race – until everyone realized that the district actually has a good chunk of Republican voters that will likely make up a third of the electorate.
So former L.A. City Controller and mayoral also-ran Greuel appears to be racing against chubby-cheeked State Senator Ted Lieu while Iraq War veteran Elan Carr is getting a big help by being the best-known Republican on the ballot.
Updated at 10:40 p.m.:
What's up with the counting in the Westside's Congressional District? Right now, just 2.9 percent have been counted while races up and down California are nearly half-counted. There's some strange screwup every election night.
Update at 11:21 p.m.:
With 11.6 percent of the precincts counted, Wendy Greuel has dropped to 17.7 percent compared to Ted Lieu's 20 percent and Elan Carr's 23.3 percent. If this trend holds, Greuel is out in November, another big loss for her. But trends don't always hold.
Update at 2:18 a.m.:
Shortly before 2 a.m., Wendy Greuel called Elan Carr and Ted Lieu to concede. Lieu and Carr will face each in the November runoff.
Also contributing to this article were Ani Ucar and Jill Stewart.
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