Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, a Democrat, was the top vote-getter with 15,647 votes, 24.6 percent, and was followed by Republican canidate Craig Huey, who had 14,116, 22.2 percent. The top two vote-getters advance to a runoff election if no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, so Hahn and Huey will face off in a July 12 special election.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen finished in third with 13,407 votes, 21.1 percent, and was 709 votes behind Huey.
The election drew a wide field of candidates that included five Democrats, six Republicans, a Peace and Freedom, a Libertarian and three candidates who stated no party preference. The candidates were vying to replace longtime Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), who resigned in February to join a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The 36th Congressional District includes Marina del Rey, Venice, Mar Vista, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and surrounding communities.
Huey, a Torrance businessman and tea party candidate who lives outside the district in Rolling Hills Estates, surprised election watchers late Tuesday night when he overtook Bowen as the final precincts were counted and took a 206-vote lead. The registrar’s office counted more than 10,000 ballots Thursday and Huey increased his lead over Bowen, prompting her to concede defeat.
It is expected to be a tough race for Republican/Libertaran Huey since the Congressional District is overwhelmingly Democratic in registration. But, turnout is also expected to be low and Huey is well known in conservative circles in the district.
Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said there were 64,183 total votes cast in the election and 35,183, 54.8 percent, were vote by mail ballots and 29,000, 45.2 percent, were cast at precinct polling stations. Voter turnout for the election was 18.6 percent, which is lower than the 2010 primary turnout of 27 percent.
Craig, a high school friend of mine from El Segundo and the owner of a Torrance marketing/PR business is expected to give Hahn a tough campaign.