The challenge for candidates facing an election in which a candidate is challenging an incumbent

Who will replace L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl — a seasoned Sacramento legislator or a millennial West Hollywood activist?

It’s a question that has been weighing on the minds of voters of both parties — particularly in a presidential election year in which a wave of anti-establishment candidates are seeking to sweep away political insiders by making an example of them.

But with Kuehl, who’s been running for several years, it’s a question of more existential and perhaps more complicated significance.

“I don’t know if [Sheila] Kuehl is going to be replaced,” said former state Assemblyman and current Los Angeles Councilman David Ryu, who’s also running for Congress. “But somebody will, and it will be somebody who does not serve in the local government.”

The challenge for candidates facing an election in which a candidate for a party who is challenging a sitting elected official in a swing district is trying to keep support — and maybe even a seat — will be how to get voters to consider what they’re likely to agree or disagree about the person challenging their incumbent.

Kuehl — a lifelong Democrat who was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1989 — was elected to the Assembly in 1998 before running for supervisor, and she’s been a fixture there ever since, even as her popularity has waned.

In that sense, she is an outlier, a politician who has been more than one job in the last 10 years. She has served as a state senator and, later, in the Assembly, and then she was elected to a second term as supervisor in a three-way race with longtime San Fernando Valley Supervisor Don Knabe and former state Senator and Assemblyman Tony Strickland.

Kuehl has been a thorn in the side of some, whether by being a thorn in the side of an often-indignant Knabe, a thorn in the side of Strickland and sometimes, as with Strickland, a thorn in the side of his former boss Tony Strick

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