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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 2nd, 2014
06:14 PM ET

Wild battle to represent Beverly Hills

(CNN) – The seat for California's 33rd congressional district has been taken for 40 years. So when Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman announced he was retiring, it became a mad scramble to replace him, with 18 candidates crawling, jumping, and pouncing out of the woodwork.

Given that the district represents everywhere from sunny Santa Monica to tony Beverly Hills, there are some interesting candidates, along with more traditional ones such as Democratic California state senator Ted Lieu, and Democrat Wendy Greuel who came in second in L.A.'s mayoral election last year.

Then there are the not-so-traditional.

Like independent Brent Roske, a Hollywood director. He's the man behind the web series "Chasing the Hill," he lives on a yacht, and he scored a coveted endorsement from actor David Hasselhoff.

"People have asked me if I'm serious about this, and I answer 'You're damned right I'm serious about this.' It's my name on the shirts," Roske said in a campaign speech posted online.

But Roske recently bowed out and endorsed independent candidate Marianne Williamson, a best-selling self-help author to the stars. She says she is running to return power to the people in her district.

"We are not an aristocracy thank you very much. We are not an oligarchy thank you very much. We are a representative democracy. It is the well being of the people of the United States who are the bottom line here," Williamson said.

Former "Desperate Housewives" star and Democratic gadfly Eva Longoria is backing her. So is spiritual guru Deepak Chopra.

Williamson even has an original campaign song from Alanis Morisette. Isn't it ironic? No, not particularly, it's just Beverly Hills.

Another candidate is Matt Miller, an occasional political panelist on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper," who worked in the Clinton White House, and was political radio host of "Left, Right, and Center." Miler says he wants to bring an aggressive agenda to Washington with common sense solutions.

After all, celebrities and the rich and famous need a voice in Congress, too. That is what a representational democracy is all about.

"You look at a district that actually has elected for 40 years one of the most accomplished, serious, and un-glamorous seeming legislators in the country like Henry Waxman, it kind of puts the lie to the east coast snark that we see," says Miller.

"People can laugh, and people can make fun of, but even the people who are laughing and make fun know full well, we're a very serious place on the planet, we're about very serious business," says Williamson.

Voters will head to the polls on June 3, in an open primary. The top two finishers of the 16 sill standing, regardless of party, will face off on a run-off on election day.

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