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.


Hahn concedes Lt.Gov. race to Gavin Newsom

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the scion of a political dynasty in her city, had seemed to have the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor wrapped up by early this year, standing well ahead of state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, in the polls. That is, until San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom jumped into the race, only months after having scoffed at the idea of doing so.

At this hour, with about a quarter of the state’s precincts having reported in, Newsom leads Hahn by almost 23 percentage points, and Hahn just issued this statement:

The last several months of campaigning for Lieutenant Governor have been an amazing experience. I have traveled up and down the state and met so many new people and heard so many great ideas. And I learned that all of us really want the same thing – a better California.

I was so humbled by all the support I received. And I really enjoyed using this experience to educate people about the role of the Lieutenant Governor in California. Together, we focused on how the Lieutenant Governor can really transform our state. We can make higher education affordable and accessible to every young person. We can continue to protect the environment, but also focus on creating new jobs and getting every Californian back to work.

At the end of this hard fought campaign, I think we have made a difference – thanks to you.

I want to congratulate Gavin Newsom on running a good, clean campaign. He has done some groundbreaking work as mayor of San Francisco and I know that he will bring that experience to Sacramento to shake things up. I will be supporting him in November, and I hope that you will join me.

November is pivotal for Democrats. We must work together to elect Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom and the entire Democratic ticket. This is our year. Let’s make California great again.


Lt.Gov.: Newsom holds lead, Hahn goes on TV

With a week to go before the election, the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor has San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom asserting a lead and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn taking to the airwaves.

Newsom’s campaign issued a statement today saying its pollster, Tulchin Research, has found Newsom holds a 17-point lead over Hahn – 46 percent to 29 percent, with 21 percent still undecided. The phone survey of 600 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted May 20-24 and has a four-percentage-point margin of error.

From the report prepared by pollsters Ben Tulchin and Julie Lein:

Since entering the race for Lieutenant Governor in March, Gavin Newsom has consistently led Janice Hahn by double-digits. With Election Day approaching, Hahn has been unable to close the gap with the Mayor. Even more encouraging for the San Francisco Mayor and troubling for his opponents is that Newsom leads by a wider margin among voters who have already cast their ballots as he garners a solid majority (53%) support compared to only 30% for Hahn.

Given Newsom’s consistently strong poll results among Democratic primary voters, his wide lead among voters who have already cast their ballots, superior name recognition and fundraising, the San Francisco Mayor is poised to win the party nomination for Lieutenant Governor.

Remember, that’s according to a pollster on the Newsom campaign’s payroll. However, the question asked apparently wasn’t leading or otherwise biased in Newsom’s favor: “In thinking about the Democratic Primary Election for Lieutenant Governor, if the election were held today and the candidates were San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn [the names’ order are randomly flipped], for whom would you vote?”

Meanwhile, Hahn announced today that she’s launching her first television ad:

Michael Trujillo, Hahn’s campaign manager, didn’t immediately return an e-mail and a voice-mail inquiring as to the ad buy’s dollar size and geographic scope.

UPDATE @ 3:56 P.M. TUESDAY: Newsom’s campaign just announced it’s going on the air, too:

No word yet on how much they’re spending on the ad buy, or where it’s airing.


More campaign finance fun: Lt.Gov. and AG

In the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom far outpaced Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn in fundraising during this period from March 18 to May 22. Newsom raised $792,311 and spent $453,291, finishing the period with $770,776 cash on hand; Hahn raised $336,331 and spent $316,670, finishing the period with $315,430 cash on hand.

Mike Trujillo, Hahn’s campaign adviser, called me tonight to note that the two candidates are more evenly matched if you look at contributions since their campaigns began – it looks to me as if Newsom’s at about $1.06 million to Hahn’s $898,000, by that measure – and that about $200,000 of Newsom’s cash on hand is earmarked for November’s general election, while all but $9,000 of Hahn’s stash can be spent in the next 10 days.

In the GOP primary for Lieutenant Governor, appointed incumbent and former state Sen. Abel Maldonado smoked his more conservative rival, state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley. Maldonado raised $318,898 during this period and spent $121,872, leaving him with $139,060 cash on hand; Aanestad raised $44,470 during this period and spent $44,441, leaving him with $43,297 cash on hand.

In the Republican primary for Attorney General, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley trumped the fundraising during this period, with $916,066 in contributions compared to $295,302 for former Chapman University Law School Dean John Eastman – including the $25,000 he loaned his own campaign – and $150,294 for state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach. Cooley finished with the most cash on hand, too: $222,280 compared to Eastman’s $158,444 and Harman’s $112,644.

In the Democratic primary for Attorney General, former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly rules the campaign cash roost only because he put $5.6 million into his own campaign during this period (atop the $4 million he’d put in earlier). His new investment accounted for all but $79,679 of his contributions in this period and he spent $8,953,697, leaving him with cash on hand of $102,984.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris raised $810,884 during this period and spent $1,546,812, finishing with $636,471 cash on hand; former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo raised $268,995 and spent $1,251,446, finishing with $149,762 cash on hand; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, raised $239,162 and spent $671,100, finishing with $577,002 cash on hand; and Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, raised $17,532 and spent $86,956, finishing with $24,534 cash on hand. Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, had $1,029,186 cash on hand as of March 17, the close of the last reporting period, but hasn’t yet filed this period’s report as of this time; Emeryville attorney Mike Schmier didn’t raise enough to require a report.

UPDATE @ 10:33 A.M. FRIDAY: Torrico raised $180,371.79 in this period, spent $676,560.78 and finished with $522,334.73 cash on hand.

UPDATE @ 9:30 A.M. TUESDAY 6/1: Sorry, my bad: Schmier says he has raised $12,450 to date and has $3,166.88 cash on hand remaining.


Hahn ad knocks Newsom on SF crime lab

Thought the San Francisco crime lab scandal would be an issue only in the state Attorney General’s race, where San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris is taking heat on it from former Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly? Think again!


Hahn complains to FPPC about Gavin’s fundraising

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles City Councilwoman, filed a complaint today with California’s Fair Political Practices Commission claiming San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who jumped into the lieutenant governor’s race last week, has violated the Political Reform Act:

Under the unique circumstances resulting from his actions as a former candidate for Governor in this same election, Mr. Newsom, who recently announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor, is violating the PRA by raising and spending money in contravention of the contribution and voluntary expenditure limits imposed on candidates for Lieutenant Governor.

The clear intent of Proposition 34, the voter approved initiative in 2000, is to limit the amount of money used to influence candidates. State law imposes a higher $25,900 limit on contributions to candidates for Governor, compared with the $6,500 limit on contributions to other statewide candidates. By raising and spending large contributions up to $25,900 through his gubernatorial committee, spending all of that money, dropping out of the race for Governor, and then raising additional contributions from the same contributors for a down ballot office in the same election, Gavin Newsom has flouted state law in an unprecedented manner.

It’ll be up to the FPPC to decide, but on its face this looks like a technical tactic for a candidate who’s running scared, and something that’s not going to matter a whit to most voters. Until Newsom got into the race last week, Hahn had seemed to have the edge in this race, raking in all the right endorsements and contributions over the other guy in the field, state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter. But polling last month (albeit a poll conducted by a Newsom ally) showed Newsom would lead the pack if he got in, and when he did so last week, Florez dropped out and endorsed him.

UPDATE @ 2:09 P.M.: Attorney Tom Willis responds on behalf of Newsom’s campaign:

“Janice Hahn’s complaint to the FPPC ignores two important things: the law and the fact the FPPC has already rejected her argument.

“When Hahn’s campaign first floated this idea in the press a month ago, a reporter asked the FPPC’s Executive Director Roman Porter whether there was any merit to it. Mr. Porter said no, stating that the Political Reform Act’s contribution limits apply “per candidate, per election – it’s a separate election.” (See CalBuzz, http://www.calbuzz.com/2010/02/gavin-problem-mr-and-the-politics-of-outing.)

“The law and facts could not be more clear: Under the Political Reform Act, a candidate can open separate committees for different offices being voted on at the same election, and each of those committees is subject to separate contribution limits. There is no such thing as an aggregate contribution limit that restricts a contributor’s ability to give to more than one committee of a candidate. If the law where written as Janice Hahn suggests, many past and present candidates and officeholders would have violated the law.

“The fact is that the funds raised by Mayor Newsom for his gubernatorial committee were spent supporting his run for Governor, an election from which he withdrew from in October 2009. Now, five months later, he is running for a different office, involving different issues and different opponents. In fact, as Janice Hahn’s campaign often likes to point out, Mayor Newsom had no intention of running for Lieutenant Governor when he was a candidate for Governor. That puts the lie on her argument that Mayor Newsom was somehow using his gubernatorial committee to advance his Lieutenant Governor campaign.”

Read Hahn’s letter in its entirety, after the jump…
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