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Democrats Start Maneuvering to Succeed SoCal Congresswoman (Updated)

Hahn is a Democrat from southern California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Hahn is a Democrat from southern California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:15 p.m. |  Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., hasn’t even announced a bid for Los Angeles County supervisor , but the jockeying to replace her in California’s 44th District has begun.  

State Sen. Isadore Hall III told CQ Roll Call exclusively that if Hahn runs for supervisor, he will unequivocally seek her seat.  

“I will wait patiently to hear what she decides to do regarding the upcoming June 2016 election,” Hall said in an email. “However, let me be crystal clear. If Congresswoman Hahn decides not to run for re-election and instead runs for County Supervisor, I will run for the 44th Congressional seat — regardless of who else enters the race. I will not hesitate and I will enter the race fully focused and determined on winning it.”  

Dave Jacobson, a Hahn adviser, said the congresswoman will make a decision on whether to run for supervisor “in the near future .” Jacobson is also a consultant for Hall.  

In the meantime, Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino is also considering a bid in the district based in the southern part of Los Angeles County.  

Democrats floated several other names as potential candidates, including Compton Mayor Aja Brown, South Gate City Council Member Maria Davila and South Gate City Clerk Carmen Avalos.  

Hall ran for the 44th District in 2012, when Hahn and former Rep. Laura Richardson faced each other in a member-vs.-member contest following decennial redistricting. Hall dropped out of the race before the primary and endorsed Hahn.  

It’s unclear what role Hahn would play in a possible race to succeed her.  

Hahn was first elected to Congress in a 2011 special election, after former Rep. Jane Harman resigned to lead the Woodrow Wilson Center, a D.C. think tank.  

Just two weeks before her resignation, Harman invited Hahn to be her guest at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address , where she told Hahn she was resigning and wanted Hahn to run to replace her.  

This year, Hahn brought  Buscaino to the State of the Union as her invited guest, fueling speculation about her loyalties in the contest.  

To be sure, California’s primary system creates a strong possibility Hall and Buscaino, or a combination of other Democrats, could battle it out through Election Day 2016. In the Golden State, the two highest vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. President Barack Obama carried the 44th District with 85 percent in 2012, making it very likely that two Democrats advance to the November 2016 general election.  

But Hall goes into the contest with a few advantages.  

First, he is African-American, a selling point in this majority-minority district that includes the cities of Compton and Carson. Hall is already picking up support from members of the delegation. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, confirmed through an aide she would endorse Hall if Hahn runs for supervisor.  

Geography is also on Hall’s side. His state Senate seat overlaps with more than half of the House district, while Buscaino’s city council district overlaps with a smaller piece of the seat.  


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