Craig Huey

CA-36: Does Rep. Elect Janice Hahn Have Time to Celebrate?

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Los Angeles City councilwoman Janice Hahn celebrates victory with her campaign staff in 36th Congressional District race Tuesday night July 12, 2011 at her election party at Ports O’ Call Restaurant in San Pedro. Hahn defeated Republican Craig Huey in a bitter contest for a Southern California House seat, preserving the party’s hold on the district and surviving an unusually tough race in a Democratic stronghold

Maybe for a day or so and then that is it.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn won’t have much time to savor her victory in Tuesday’s special election for a South Bay-area congressional seat before she has to run again — and in a district that could soon see significant changes.

Hahn, a Democrat in an area where her party enjoys an 18-point registration edge, defeated Republican Craig Huey, 54.6% to 45.4%. But she’ll need to start campaigning again soon, as next year’s primary is less than a year away.

All eyes, including those of the defeated Republican Craig Huey will be on the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission. When their final Congressional District maps are released in August, then the campaign for 2012 begins a new. I suspect that Hahn will again have to face off against Craig Huey.

Hence, when all of the precincts are counted and the votes mapped, political assessments will be calculated.

Under the first proposed maps released by the Citizens Redistricting Commission last month, Hahn’s turf would lose Venice and some other communities at the north end dominated by the Democratic Party and pick up the more Republican-friendly Palos Verdes Peninsula on the south. It would more closely resemble its configuration in 1998, the year then-GOP Assemblyman Steven T. Kuykendall defeated Hahn in her first bid for the seat.

That was one of the closest House races in the country. Two years later, Harman defeated Kuykendall of Rancho Palos Verdes. In 2001 the district, along with others in California, was redrawn in a deal the two major parties cut to protect incumbents.

And, remember in California, it is a top two system. With a more GOP oriented district and with perhaps two incumbent Democratic Representatives thrown into the newly configured CA-36, Janice Hahn may face two tough election fights. Or, may not survive next June’s (or February’s) primary election.

Tuesday night’s victory dance for Janice Hahn may be short-lived.

Craig Huey

CA-36: The Michael Barone Analysis of the Race Between Janice Hahn and Craig Huey

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Washington political punidt Michael Barone is partially correct in his analysis of the 9 or 10 point loss of Republican Craig Huey to Democrat Janice Hahn yesterday.

The Los Angeles County elections director has tweeted that Democrat Janice Hahn beat Republican Craig Huey in yesterday’s California 36th congressional district special election by a 55%-45% margin. This is in a district that Barack Obama carried 64%-34% in 2008. In other words, the Democrat ran 9% behind Obama and the Republican ran 11% ahead of John McCain. (…)

California 36, in contrast, is an affluent area along the Los Angeles County beachfront, heavily white (look at this terrific New York Times interactive graphic showing the predominant racial group: the coast is a white bastion penned in by black and Hispanic interior areas in Los Angeles County). Historically Republican, primarily because of economic issues, it trended heavily toward Democrats in the 1990s. Republican nominee Craig Huey was spectacularly out of line with the district on cultural issues, but managed to get 45% of the vote anyway. I take this result as evidence of significant erosion in Obama/Democratic support in affluent white areas that are part of large metropolitan areas—a key part of the Democratic national coalition since 1996. (…)

CA-36 is a very gerrymandered Democratic district from a decade old census. The race was uphill for Craig Huey from the start and Huey ran a very good campaign.

The fact is that the Democrats and President Obama are less popular than in 2006 and 2008, but this will make little difference in California politics which is solidly blue Democratic. Republican voters are concentrated in certain areas of California and are overwhelmed by racially based demographic groups that traditionally vote Democratic no matter what. Now whether they turn out is another matter but the numbers are so great that winning is relatively easy for the Democrats.

Any extrapolation of this race to the national mood is probably folly – no matter who is doing the spinning.

Craig Huey

CA-36: Janice Hahn Wins Special Election Over Craig Huey

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California’s new Representative Janice Hahn and GOP Congressional Nominee and businessman Craig Huey

Janice Hahn cruises to an easy 9 point victory over Craig Huey in yesterday’s California special congressional election.
Democrat Janice Hahn defeated Republican Craig Huey in a bitterly contested Southern California special election marked by stinging attacks from both sides.

Hahn finished with a healthy 54.56 percent of the vote to Huey’s 45.44 percent in Tuesday’s vote. The good news came early for Hahn’s camp soon after polls closed when the initial absentee returns showed the Los Angeles councilwoman with an 8-point advantage. Huey’s campaign needed a stronger showing in the early vote to offset the 18-point Democratic registration advantage in the beach town district.

Hahn emerged with a win despite an aggressive campaign by Huey, a wealthy tea partier who poured $883,000 of his own money into the effort after a surprise second-place primary finish vaulted him into the runoff.

In the end, the overwhelming Democratic Party registration was just too much to overtake in this ten-year old Democratic gerrymandered district.

Now, all eyes will be on the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission as to how they will carve up CA-36 and how many GOP voters will be placed within the area where Craig Huey lives on the Palos Verdes Peninsula/Rolling Hills area.

Or, whether a more friendly race for the California Assembly might be in play for Craig.

Here are the results:

Craig Huey

CA-36: Special Election Day for Craig Huey and Janice Hahn – Will Huey Pul Off the Upset Victory?

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Los Angeles City Council Member Janice Hahn and GOP Congressional Nominee and businessman Craig Huey

Hard to say but Craig Huey has exceeded all expectations in this race.
Republicans are hopeful they can pick off a Los Angeles-based House seat long held by Democrats in Tuesday’s special election.

The odds are against their candidate, businessman Craig Huey, but he’s surprised observers on both sides of the aisle by making the race closer than expected.

Both Democratic and GOP strategists tell The Hill they believe he’s trailing Democratic candidate Janice Hahn by 5 points. And a new poll out Monday, conducted by the Dem-leaning Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos and SEIU, shows Hahn leading Huey by 8 points — a small margin in a heavily Democratic area.

Huey has spent extensively to get to this point. He’s dropped about $1 million into the race, most of it his own money.

Meanwhile, Hahn, a Los Angeles City Councilwoman, has failed to reunite the district’s liberal base after a divisive primary. She’s spent close to the same amount, but it’s money she’s raised — not loaned — her campaign.

The district favors Democrats: President Obama won 64 percent of its votes in 2008, and the party has an advantage in voter registration.

Also working against Huey is the Republican Party’s subpar record in special elections. The most recent example was Republican candidate Jane Corwin’s loss in May’s special election in New York. In an embarrassment for the party, the GOP candidate failed to win the Republican-leaning district.

GOP operatives are downplaying Huey’s chances, trying to set expectations low so that a win would be seen as a shocking result.

Regardless of the result tonight, the CA-36 Congressional District will be changing to a more GOP friendly one (more Republicans registered) in just a month when the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission draws the new maps for the 2012 election cycle. So, this campaign between these two will continue regardless of tonight’s result.

Also, according to the latest maps (always subject to change in August), there will be a new California Assembly District in the area where Craig Huey lives. This district will slant GOP. So, Huey could run for this office and most probably win easily with his high name identification in the district.

But for today, it comes down to turnout which are notoriously low in special elections, particularly in the summer. If Huey can turn out HIS voters and some Democrats stay home, he wins.

“We expect it to be close — it’s all going to come down to turnout; it’s going to be a very low-turnout election,” said Huey spokesman and adviser Dave Gilliard on Monday. “We’re excited about the possibility that we can pull this off tomorrow.”