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California: L.A. Prosecutor Plots Primary Against Watson

A Los Angeles prosecutor who was once a student of President Barack Obama’s at the University of Chicago Law School announced Monday that he plans to challenge Rep. Diane Watson in the Democratic primary next year.

“My passion is that children born in this century have the same opportunity I had to live the American dream,— Felton Newell said in a video released on his campaign Web site.

Newell has connections at the national and local political level, but whether they are enough for him to topple a veteran local officeholder like Watson remains to be seen. Watson was elected to the Los Angeles Board of Education in 1975 and served in the state Senate for almost 20 years.

But Newell’s youth will certainly serve as a contrast to the incumbent: At age 37, he is less than half the age of the 75-year-old Congresswoman.

Newell worked as a Congressional liaison in the Clinton White House before attending law school. He then spent eight years as a corporate attorney and has been a prosecutor in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for the past three years.

On his Web video, Newell seeks to link himself to his former professor, saying he can help Obama bring about the change that the new president represents. Without mentioning Watson by name, he said that “active leadership— has “been lacking in this district for too long.—

After winning a highly competitive special primary to replace the late Rep. Julian Dixon (D) in 2001, Watson has not had to sweat re-election. She had only $18,000 in her campaign account as of June 30.

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