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Dianne Feinstein backs Janice Hahn for Jane Harman congressional seat

February 14, 2011 |  2:11 pm

Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who has been frenetically lining up support in her bid to replace retiring Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), scored the endorsement Monday of fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein, California's senior U.S senator and one of the state's most popular, longtime officeholders.

Hahn, from San Pedro, announced her candidacy, hired a campaign staff and activated her Janicehahn.com website within hours after Harman told supporters last week she was stepping down to lead a Washington think tank. Harman plans to leave office Tuesday to enable the governor to call a special election in June to replace her.

No shortage of other candidates have expressed interest in Harman's seat. Hahn's strongest competition could come from California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, another Democrat. Bowen is said to be close to deciding whether to run. She represented much of the South Bay-based 36th Congressional District, which runs from Venice to San Pedro, during her 14 years in the Legislature.

Hahn's quick launch of her own campaign was seen in part as an effort to discourage others from joining the race. Over the weekend, Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) endorsed Hahn, and she has sewn up backing from other local officeholders and some labor groups.

-- Jean Merl