Democrats Now 2-for-2 in Special Elections; GOP Looks to Even Score in September

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

Democrats Now 2-for-2 in Special Elections; GOP Looks to Even Score in September


Byline: Valerie Richardson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The score after two 2011 special congressional elections: Democrats 2, Republicans 0.

California Democrat Janice Hahn won Tuesday's election to replace retiring Rep. Jane Harman in a coastal Los Angeles County district, defeating Republican businessman Craig Huey by a margin of 54 percent to 45 percent.

Any other outcome would have been considered an upset in a district where Democrats enjoy an 18 percentage point voter-registration advantage and which President Obama won by 30 percentage points in 2008. Mrs. Harman, a Democrat, had held the seat since 2001 before she stepped down to head the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Still Mr. Huey, 61, a political newcomer backed by the tea party, ran a closer-than-expected race against the well-connected Mrs. Hahn, who has served for a decade on the Los Angeles City Council.

The race might be best remembered for an independently produced rap video that accused Mrs. Hahn of being soft on gangs, portraying her as a pole-dancer giving dollar bills to gang members. The video was widely denounced as racist, including by Mr. Huey.

However, Republicans have a chance to even the score with two more special elections, both scheduled for Sept. 13.

In Nevada, voters will choose a successor to Republican Rep. Dean Heller, who was appointed by the governor to replace Sen. John Ensign. Mr. Ensign, a Republican, resigned in May amid an investigation of his efforts to cover up an affair the wife of a top aide.

Republican Mark Amodei, a former state senator, will face state Treasurer Kate Marshall. Mr. Amodei is running on a limited-government, Nevada-first platform, while Ms. Marshall is running an anti-Washington video that doesn't mention her party affiliation.

There's a reason for that: No Democrat has been elected in the 30-year history of Nevada's 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses the whole state minus the Las Vegas area.

A win by Ms. Marshall would constitute the most stunning Democratic special-election upset since March, when Democrat Kathy Hochul won a three-way race for a New York seat that Republicans had held since 1970. …

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