Craig HueyJanice Hahn

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

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.