The Campaign Spot

Keeping an Eye on California’s May Special Election…

We’re a little less than two weeks away from a special House election in California.

There will be a “special primary” May 17. All candidates, both party members and independents, participate in that nonpartisan primary. If one candidate receives a majority of the primary vote, that candidate is the new representative. If no candidate wins a majority, the top two finishers, regardless of party, advance to a July 12 “special general election.”

At this moment, the field is crowded. Democrats running include secretary of state Debra Bowen, Los Angeles city councilwoman Janice Hahn, Mark Contreras, Mervin Evans, Loraine Goodwin, Matt Peterson, and Marcy Winograd.

On the GOP side, declared candidates include Hermosa Beach city councilman Patrick “Kit” Bobko, Redondo Beach mayor Mike Gin, and Redondo Beach city attorney Mike Webb.

The GOP’s odds in this district aren’t great, but it’s still worth keeping on the radar screen. Harman’s district, as currently drawn, scores a D+12 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index, so under normal circumstances, any Republican would face a steep uphill climb. But the leading Democrats all overlap a great deal (all are more liberal than Harman, three are women, Hahn’s a key player in local politics, Bowen has been elected statewide, Winograd attracted attention challenging Harman in past primaries). A runoff seems pretty likely, and if the district’s Republicans unify around one of their options, the GOP winning one of the two runoff slots isn’t unthinkable.


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