warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Janice Hahn Has Leg Up On Debra Bowen In Race To Fill Jane Harman's Seat

Paresh Dave |
February 15, 2011 | 1:04 a.m. PST

Executive Producer

Bowen. (Creative Commons)
Bowen. (Creative Commons)

Janice Hahn earned several more endorsements and Debra Bowen officially threw her hat in the ring on Tuesday to replace outgoing Rep. Jane Harman.

A special primary election is expected to be held in early June to fill the now-vacant seat for California's 36th District, which has been held by a Republican only once since 1974.

State Assembly Speaker John Perez, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sen. Dianne Feisntein and about a dozen other labor and trade unions have endorsed Hahn in the last week.

Hahn, an L.A. city councilwoman, ran unsuccessfully to replace Harman back in 1998. Republican Steven T. Kuykendall beat Hahn by two percentage points (2,200 votes) while Harman was trying to become governor of California.

Upon losing, Harman successfully reclaimed her seat from Kuykendall two years later, beating him by about two points (4,000 votes). Kuykendall is said to be considering joining this race as well. He has not responded to phone calls from Neon Tommy.

Bowen, California's Secretary of State, appears at a disadvatange because she has been away from the local scene in recent years. Including her time as a state legislator, she has spent the past 16 years working in Sacramento. Hahn's bid to become lieutenant governor last year fizzled out because she lacked the statewide fame of then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

This time around, Hahn's name rather than Bowen's has been more prominent in a district that stretches along the coast from Venice Beach to Long Beach. Hahn has been a strong proponent of progressive security and environmental policies at the L.A. County's ports. Bowen has spent the past four years catering to the Sacramento establishment and the wealthier areas of L.A. County. Hahn's major campaign donors a year ago were from all over L.A. County as well as the Bay Area.

Despite the early endorsements, the big group that has yet to weigh in is the International Longshore Workers Union, which represents about 20,000 port employees. Hahn and Bowen each received about $13,000 from the union's political action committee during their respective campaigns last year. Hahn's recent familiarity with port affairs may push the union to stand behind her instead of Bowen.

Hahn will be termed out of office in 2013, so constituients understand her decision to run for Congress. She represents about 250,000 people in her council district. Congressional districts include about 650,000 people.

The Daily Breeze notes "other possible candidates include anti-war Democrat Marcy Winograd and Republicans Mattie Fein and Mike Webb."

Harman is scheduled to leave office Feb. 28 to become president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Gov. Jerry Brown would have to order by March 10 a special election to fill the seat. If none of the candidates picks up more than 50 percent of the vote in June, the top two vote-getters regardless of party affiliation would head to a run-off a few weeks later.

Reach Executive Producer Paresh Dave here.  Follow him on Twitter @peard33.




Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.