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L.A. County Federation of Labor backs Janice Hahn for Congress

March 22, 2011 | 10:38 am

Picking up her biggest labor endorsement yet, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn has scored the backing of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor in her bid to succeed former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) in the upcoming special election.

The federation represents more than 350 local unions and about 800,000 workers. Its support can be pivotal in close races because it can choose to spend significant amounts of money independently to support its candidates and marshal its members to help get out the vote.

Hahn is one of three prominent Democrats vying to succeed Harman, who resigned her 36th Congressional District seat last month to lead a Washington think tank.  The councilwoman, from San Pedro in the southern tip of the strongly Democratic congressional district, was the first to announce her candidacy, and she quickly sewed up endorsements from many area elected officials and smaller labor groups.

The other prominent Democrats are Secretary of State Debra Bowen, from Marina del Rey, who served 14 years in the Legislature from areas that largely overlapped the congressional district, and Westside antiwar activist and teacher Marcy Winograd, who twice challenged Harman in primaries.

As of Monday evening, 20 people had taken at least initial steps to become candidates, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk website.

Potential candidates include eight Democrats and five Republicans; the rest are minor-party members or independents. The filing period ends at 5 p.m. Friday.

If no candidate wins a majority in the May 17 primary, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will compete in a July 12 runoff.

-- Jean Merl