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Democrats rally around Janice Hahn for congressional runoff

May 24, 2011 | 12:14 pm

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