On politics in the Golden State

Category: 36th Congressional District

Janice Hahn, Craig Huey congressional race gets even nastier

Just when you wondered whether the special runoff election between Janice Hahn and Craig Huey could get any more contentious ... it has.

Both sides came out swinging Thursday.   Her campaign launched  a new TV  spot charging that the Republican businessman helped his marketing clients rip off senior citizens with investment schemes and phony cures for Alzheimer’s, while one of his supporters filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing the Democratic Los Angeles city councilwoman of violating campaign laws in her automated phone calls to voters.

Huey and Hahn are vying  in the July 12 election to fill the 36th Congressional District seat left vacant by the February resignation of then-Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice).

Since the two topped a 16-candidate field  in May to win spots on the runoff ballot, the campaigns have grown increasingly contentious.  She says his views against abortion and his other opinions make him too extreme for the strongly Democratic, largely coastal district, which runs from Venice to San Pedro.  He says she's a  "career politician" who played fast and loose with the taxpayers' money.

One of Hahn's campaign strategists, Joe Trippi, highlighted the TV ad by linking to it in a piece he wrote for the Huffington Post.

"Scheme after scheme.  An extreme agenda," Trippi wrote.  "That's Craig Huey's way of doing business and politics.  And our new ad lays it out."


In his written complaint to the FEC, Redondo Beach resident William Schmidt said the Hahn campaign violated disclosure laws by making automated telephone calls to voters without including the required identification of who paid for the calls. In the message, a woman who identified herself as a Republican criticized Huey and urged a vote for Hahn.

The Huey campaign noted that Hahn was fined $500 in connection with her 2009 City Council reelection campaign after failing to provide the city, as required, with a copy of the script for an automated campaign phone message.

--Jean Merl

Janice Hahn airs two more TV commercials in hot special election for Congress

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is airing two more campaign spots on cable television -- one of them an upbeat review of her record and the other a slam at her opponent's.

In a commercial dubbed "Will fight for our agenda," the Hahn campaign lays out the Democratic candidate's "nonpartisan roots"  (council seats are technically nonpartisan) and her "common-sense agenda of job creation and cutting Washington spending while protecting Medicare."

The second ad is titled "Extreme" and takes aim at -- you guessed it -- her Republican opponent, businessman Craig Huey. It takes Huey's conservative views on such issues as the Federal Reserve and Planned Parenthood and puts him to the right of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

Huey, too, has been running a TV spot in the strongly Democratic, South Bay-based 36th Congressional District. His features a couple of adorable kids whose lemonade stand earnings get taken by two sinister-looking men "from the government."

The July 12 election is to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), who resigned soon after the term began to head a Washington, D.C., think tank.

Watch the video clips below.

-- Jean Merl


Hahn files complaint with over YouTube video

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn has filed a federal complaint over the YouTube video that has stirred up her congressional race against Republican Craig Huey.

Hahn, a Los Angeles City Council member, and Huey are competing to replace retired Rep. Jane Harman in the Southern California coastal district. The election is July 12.

Read more about it the controversial video targeting Janice Hahn here.


Bill Clinton adds his name to Janice Hahn's endorsement list for Congress

Former President Clinton on Monday added his name to the long list of Democratic leaders who are backing Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn in a July 12 special election to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice).

Hahn is heavily favored to win the largely coastal South Bay congressional seat, as Democrats hold a nearly 18-point registration edge over Republicans. But she's clearly taking no chances after Republican businessman Craig Huey surprised observers by winning one of the two runoff slots last month. She's been rolling out a steady stream of endorsement announcements from Democratic leaders, women's groups and environmentalists. And she even got a shout-out from First Lady Michelle Obama at a Pasadena fundraiser Monday.

Clinton, who also sent a fundraising appeal to Hahn supporters, said she "has proven herself to be a champion for creating jobs, cleaning our environment, protecting a woman's right to choose and expanding access to healthcare."

He also took a swipe at Huey, saying 36th Congressional District voters have a choice between pursuing "a path of right-wing extremism or one of compromise and common-sense solutions."

Huey, a publisher of voter guides for evangelical Christians and others, has not strayed from his "cut government spending, grow jobs" central message, while the Hahn campaign has taken pains to point out his anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage views.

Huey's endorsements include Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Granite Bay), Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto, along with area businesspeople.

-- Jean Merl and Kate Linthicum



Janice Hahn blasts Craig Huey in first TV spot of special runoff for Harman congressional seat

In the first TV commercial in the special runoff election to succeed former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), Democrat Janice Hahn highlights what she labels Republican Craig Huey's "extremist right-wing agenda."

The Hahn commercial compares Huey with potential GOP presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a polarizing figure highly popular with "tea party" adherents and conservatives but derided by Democrats and some other groups.  It says both Palin and Huey "would ban a woman's right to choose [abortion] in every case" and that both support a Republican plan to "end Medicare" but want to "give tax breaks to the wealthy. "

Only Huey, the ad continues, "called Planned Parenthood a murder mill."

Dave Gilliard, Huey's campaign consultant, said it was "a shame" that Hahn chose "to launch her runoff campaign with a nasty, negative attack ad that twists and distorts the truth."  He said the ad shows a "disregard for the intelligence of the voters ... and her understanding of her own vulnerabilities."

Huey,  a businessman who faces Hahn, a Los Angeles City Council member, July 12 in the strongly Democratic 36th Congressional District, has emphasized his cut-government-spending, grow-jobs message but has said little during the campaign about his views on abortion and other social issues.

The commercial begins airing Tuesday on cable TV channels through the district, said the Hahn campaign, which released a copy of the ad to reporters and posted it Monday on YouTube.

-- Jean Merl



Former rival, women's groups backing Janice Hahn for Congress

At least one former rival and some high-profile women's groups are backing Democrat Janice Hahn, who is competing against Republican Craig Huey in a July 12 runoff to succeed former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice).

Antiwar activist and teacher Marcy Winograd, a Democrat and one of 16 candidates on the ballot in the May 17 special primary in which Hahn and Huey finished first and second, respectively, on Friday attacked the businessman as a "tea party darling." 

Winograd said in a statement released by the Hahn campaign that "we need to work to defeat the right-wing extremist agenda and elect Janice Hahn to Congress."

Also Friday, the National Women's Political Caucus and Patricia Bellasalma, president of the state chapter of the National Organization for Women, endorsed Hahn, a Los Angeles city councilwoman.  A day earlier, Emily's List, which raises money for Democratic female candidates who favor abortion rights, announced its support for Hahn.

Lulu Flores, president of the women's political caucus, called Hahn a fighter known "for caring about the people she represents -- especially women." Bellasalma called Huey, who opposes abortion, "out of touch and too extreme for California."

Huey strategists believe his message to cut government spending and grow jobs will appeal to voters in the strongly Democratic 36th Congressional District.  

-- Jean Merl

For Emily's List, choosing Janice Hahn must have come easy

Emily's List, the national organization that raises money for Democratic women candidates who are abortion rights advocates, stayed out of the crowded special primary election to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice.) At least three of the substantial contenders in that May 17 election fit the organization's criteria -- Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and antiwar activist and teacher Marcy Winograd.

But now that the field is down to Hahn and Republican businessman Craig Huey for the July 12 runoff, Emily's List had no problem choosing a candidate to back. On Wednesday the organization endorsed -- no surprise -- Hahn.

"Republican self-funder Craig Huey would add ranks to a party currently waging war on American women and families and attempting to end Medicare as we know it," the organization said in a statement announcing its endorsement of Hahn. "Janice has been a strong advocate for the people of Los Angeles during her tenure as city councilwoman, championing job creation and protection and promoting green technology as a way to grow our economy."

Emily's List, which first supported Hahn during her successful 2001 run for City Council, said that during the 2009-2010 election cycle it raised more than $38.5 million to support its "mission of recruiting and supporting women candidates," including helping them build strong campaigns and mobilizing women voters.

Huey put $500,000 of his own money into the special primary for the 36th Congressional District, giving him the biggest war chest of the 16 candidates.  Hahn raised more than $424,000 and had additional help from some local labor unions and a physicians insurance group.

-- Jean Merl



Janice Hahn drops 'Los Angeles' from ballot designation; Craig Huey aide thinks he knows why

What's in a name, anyway?  Less is apparently more to Democrat Janice Hahn, who dropped the "Los Angeles" from her ballot designation and will be described as a "local city councilwoman" on the July 12 runoff ballot for a South Bay-based congressional district seat.

That got the attention of the strategist for her Republican opponent, businessman Craig Huey, who wondered in a news release: "What about Los Angeles City and her record there is she ashamed of?

"Apparently Janice Hahn has so little regard for the voters of the 36th [Congressional District] that she believes she can fool them into thinking she is not a well known Los Angeles City politician," wrote Huey consultant Dave Gilliard.  He cited some of the city's budget and other problems and a parking citation relief program that was hastily dropped recently after a critical city controller's audit.

But Hahn campaign manager Dave Jacobson said the change was made to better reflect what Hahn had done to help residents of the other, smaller cities included in the district. He cited programs  she worked on and was proud of to create jobs and clean up the environment at the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport, programs he said benefited all the district's cities. 

Gilliard wasn't buying it, saying it was highly unusual for a candidate to change ballot descriptions between the first and second parts of the same election.

Jacobson added a final shot back at Huey, who lives in Rolling Hills Estates, currently just outside the district. Congressional candidates are not required to live in the jurisdictions they seek to represent. 

"At least, " Jacobson said, "she lives in the district and she can vote in this election."

Hahn and Huey finished first and second, respectively, among 16 on the ballot in last week's special primary to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice).

-- Jean Merl







Democrats rally around Janice Hahn for congressional runoff

Mustering a show of party unity, many of California's most prominent Democratic officeholders on Tuesday announced their backing of Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn as she headed toward a July 12 runoff with Republican businessman Craig Huey.

Huey stunned politics-watchers by edging past Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a Democrat, in last week's special primary to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice).  Hahn finished first, as anticipated, in the heavily Democratic 36th Congressional District, but Huey placed second with his "spend-less/grow-jobs" message. 

Although Democrats hold a nearly 18-point registration edge over Republicans, Huey strategists believe they can rally not only GOP voters but also independents, "tea party" members and conservative Democrats fed up with government spending.

Hahn welcomed backing from Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who beat her for his post in last year's Democratic primary, and a long list of other prominent Democrats.

"Janice Hahn is a fighter with a track record of helping Californians and getting things done," Brown said in a statement. "I want Janice to continue that work in Congress."

-- Jean Merl

Bowen slips further behind Huey as ballot counting nears end in race to succeed Jane Harman [Updated]

With fewer than 200 votes to be counted, Secretary of State Debra Bowen has slipped further behind Republican businessman Craig Huey in the race to succeed former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice).

[Updated at 4:14 p.m. On Thursday afternoon, Bowen conceded and issued a statement to supporters thanking them for their hard work and support.

[“Since Tuesday’s election, my staff, legal advisors and election experts participated in the ballot review process to ensure a full and fair vote count was conducted. It is clear now that I will not be in the runoff and I congratulate Janice Hahn and Craig Huey,” Bowen said.

[She added she would not be endorsing in the runoff, citing her longstanding policy as secretary of state not to favor one candidate over another.]

Huey and Bowen, a Democrat, are battling for a place in the July 12 runoff between the top two finishers.

Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice  Hahn, also a Democrat, finished first among 16 candidates on Tuesday's special election ballot but fell far short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff with the second-place finisher.  On election night, Huey finished second, leading Bowen by 206 votes, with more than 10,000 ballots not yet counted.

On Thursday, county elections officials announced that they had processed an additional 10,327 ballots in the 36th Congressional District race.  Hahn remained in first place, with 15,607 votes and Huey increased his lead over Bowen by 750 votes, 14,096 to 13,346.

The counting will not be finished until Friday but elections officials acknowledge that it is mathematically impossible for Bowen to overtake Huey with the remaining ballots.   Her next option would be to seek a recount and she will have five days after the tally is finished to do so.

Results and updates are available on the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's website , lavote.net.

--Jean Merl


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