Jane Harman may be out, but who’ll be in?

This morning’s big California political news is that Rep. Jane Harman, D-Los Angeles, might be resigning from Congress to take over as head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a renowned foreign policy think tank. And this morning’s big California political speculation is about who might run in a special election to succeed her – the first Congressional vote under the state’s new top-two primary scheme, and the last before district lines are redrawn by the independent Citizens Redistricing Commission for the first time.

Several potential candidates’ names have already emerged from the hubbub:

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who’d looked like a lock for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor last year until Gavin Newsom jumped into the race, will run, Politico reports.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen Tweeted this morning that she is giving it “very serious thought.”

Marcy Winograd, president of the Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles who got 38 percent 40.9 percent of the vote when she ran against Harman in last year’s Democratic primary, is getting some social media buzz, but has not Tweeted today herself.

I’ve also seen some insinuations that former Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, already fully embroiled in a special election for the 28th State Senate District left vacant by Jenny Oropeza’s death, may now be having buyers’ remorse.

Harman’s 36th Congressional District seat is registered 45.3 percent Democrat to 27.6 percent Republican with 22.2 percent of voters declining to state a party affiliation – in other words, a pretty safe Democratic seat.

UPDATE @ 2:40 P.M.: Janice Hahn is indeed in the race, and her campaign website from last year apparently is being revamped for it right now. Meanwhile, some progressives have launched an online petition urging Bowen to run.

UPDATE @ 7:25 A.M. TUESDAY: Winograd Tweeted thricely this morning:

With Harman resigning, I am considering a run — though interested in speaking with Bowen about forging a new economy for the 36th.

Hahn called me to say she was running for Harman’s seat, assured me she was anti-war, also a “friend of Israel.”

We need a progressive voice in DC, someone to challenge expanded wars, be they sponsored by the GOP or Dems. Harman resigns; Free the 36th.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    On behalf of Marcy Winograd, thank you for boosting her deluded ego. The PDA are jive-talking Leftists who make Debra Bowen seem like a model of restraint.

  • Josh Richman

    You’re certainly welcome to your opinion, RR, but 40.9 percent of voters in last year’s CA-36 Democratic primary apparently disagree; of course, that was a Harman-Winograd matchup in a regular election, and a Hahn-Bowen-Winograd special election might be a different story.

  • Seems like Debra Bowen has to do this, since she’s termed out in 2014 and has no obvious analog to switch with for a statewide race (e.g., rumor around campfire is that John Chiang and Bill Lockyer will merely swap positions in 2014).

    Makes the opening on the California Supreme Court AND a possible appointee for Secretary of State VERY INTERESTING for Jerry Brown. Martha Escutia and Alberto Torrico likely would make both lists.

  • ralph hoffmann

    Steve Weir for CA Secretary of State!

  • John W

    Much depends on how independent redistricting and open primaries affect things, but Debra Bowen seems like a good fit: is actually from the district, has great name recognition, comes across more centrist than other names mentioned. Most important of all, she’s a Michigan State Spartan!

    Steve Weir for Secretary of State. I concur.

  • yettedem

    I see so many similarities between this race and the CA10 special election in 2009. In both cases a Blue Dog Democrat Representative who has steadily seen her district become more and more progressive takes a new job. In both cases major candidates emerge who share progressive principles. In both cases one is a state wide elected who had their eye on bigger things but things didn’t turn out the way they hoped and the other is a local government star with what may be their one chance to successfully hit the big stage. It’s really something nice about California that we can get these better of two greats races instead of lesser of two evils.

  • Janice Hahn is no progressive … pretty sure her trouncing by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom both in the primary and among delegates at last year’s state Democratic Party convention in L.A. confirmed that. (Also, there’s no love for Hahn’s key political consultant, Garry South.)

    Progressives will line up behind Secretary of State Debra Bowen, even if Antonio Villaraigosa remains determined to throw his ever dwindling weight behind a Hahn bid.

  • Elwood

    “Winograd teaches US history at Palisades Charter High School”

    Pity the poor students!

  • John W

    Harman picked a good time for her new gig. Sounds a lot more interesting than being a Dem in the GOP-ruled House.