Janice Hahn adds another African American endorsement
Rep. Janice Hahn of San Pedro has racked up another endorsement from an African American civic leader, her campaign announced Wednesday.
"Sweet" Alice Harris, a longtime Watts activist, is backing Hahn, who is white and competing for a newly drawn congressional district seat with fellow Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson, who is black.
Race became an issue early in the contest because the seat, which runs north from the L.A. Harbor area through Lynwood and South Gate, was drawn under the federal Voting Rights Act to foster the election of an African American.
When Hahn, whose home was placed into the new 44th Congressional District last year by the independent commission that redrew the state’s political maps, announced for the seat, she was blasted as a "traitor" by one black activist. Many others initially stayed on the sidelines.
But in the intervening months, political consultant Basil Kimbrew, the activist who called Hahn a traitor, recanted and now endorses her. Several other prominent blacks also have swung to Hahn’s side, including Assemblyman Isadore Hall, who dropped out of the congressional race to seek reelection to the Legislature. Among the others are the Rev. Cecil "Chip" Murray, retired pastor of the First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles, and Jimmie Woods Gray, past chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.
Hahn’s father, the late longtime county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, was beloved in the city’s African American community and Janice Hahn, as a member of the L.A. City Council, represented the Los Angeles city communities that now lie within the congressional district, including parts of South Los Angeles and Harbor Gateway.
Richardson also has African American endorsements, including those of Democratic Los Angeles area Reps. Maxine Waters and Karen Bass and former California Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally. Richardson is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly improperly requiring congressional staffers to do campaign work; she has denied the accusations.
-- Jean Merl
Photos: Laura Richardson, left, and Janice Hahn. Credits: Associated Press, left, and Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times