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Politics

Hahn Wins CA-36 Special Election

July 13, 2011

Democrat Janice Hahn prevailed in a bitter special election in California's 36th District on Tuesday, besting Republican Craig Huey by 9 points.

With all precincts reporting, Hahn received 54.5 percent of the vote to Huey's 45.4 percent.

The Los Angeles City Councilwoman will succeed former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., who resigned earlier this year to head the Woodrow Wilson Center.

The runoff contest between Hahn and Huey, a wealthy businessman, had taken a sharp negative turn in the race's final weeks as the race appeared to tighten between the two, despite the Los Angeles-area district's double-digit Democratic registration advantage. Democrats were worried low turnout would make the contest close.

While Hahn's 9-point margin of victory was far under the district's nearly 18-point Democratic registration advantage, her get out the vote efforts - aided in the final days by a robocall from former President Bill Clinton and phonebanks organized by Obama for America - likely made a difference down the stretch.

Turnout, meanwhile, was up nearly 13,000 votes - in the May primary, there were just over 63,000 votes were cast, but tonight over 76,000 ballots were cast

In a statement, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel called Hahn "a champion for California families and seniors and House Democrats look forward to welcoming her to Congress."

"Hahn's victory is a tribute to her leadership, her experience, and her commitment to the families, workers, and small business owners," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. " And she will join her Democratic colleagues as a powerful advocate for the American people: fighting to protect Medicare, working to foster innovation and invest in clean energy, strengthening our middle class, and advocating on behalf of Americans' number one priority - creating jobs."

"Janice's win isn't just a victory for Democrats; it is a victory for everyone who believes that campaigns should be won or lost on the issues, not as a result of which candidate makes the most outrageous videos or audacious claims," said Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

After the results, Republicans were quick to seize on some of the problems that had plagued Hahn's campaign.

"Janice Hahn is now Nancy Pelosi's problem," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Paul Lindsay. "Between her pattern of unethical behavior and close ties to LA's most dangerous gang members, Hahn is adding to the pollution in the swamp of Washington corruption built by Nancy Pelosi's Democrats."

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