Candidates vying to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D) in California's 36th District will face off for the first time on May 17, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced Monday.
The all-party primary that will be held in nine weeks will be the first federal test of the state's new "top two" system, which pits all candidates regardless of primary against each other on the ballot. If no one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the top-two vote-getters - the most likely scenario in this case - will move on to the general election on July 12.
Candidates in the race so far include Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, and liberal activist Marcy Winograd, who twice challenged Harman in the Democratic primary. Two of the three women are expected to advance to the general election. Republicans who have announced include Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin and Redondo City Attorney Mike Webb.
Monday was Brown's final day to set the date for the special election, after Harman made her resignation official on February 28 to head the Woodrow Wilson Center. He had hoped to schedule the election to coincide with a statewide election he was pushing for on his tax plan, but he has yet to reach an agreement with state lawmakers to bring the referendum before voters.