LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Voters across Southern California were expected to turn out — albeit in marginal numbers — to cast their ballot in a special election to replace Rep. Jane Harman.
Sixteen candidates from across the political spectrum will vie to take the seat in place of Harman, who resigned earlier this year to accept an executive position with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
The field of candidates consists of five Democrats, six Republicans, a Libertarian, one Peace and Freedom candidate and three candidates with no party affiliation.
Notable Democrats on the ballot include California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and high school teacher Marcy Winograd.
South Bay businessman Craig Huey, a Republican, has raised the most money, largely from loans he gave to his campaign. Redondo Beach Republican Mayor Mike Gin also is in the running.
The predominately Democratic 36th Congressional District includes Marina del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, El Segundo and portions of West Los Angeles.
With so many candidates in the race, it is unlikely that any one candidate will receive more than 50 percent of the vote necessary to win outright. If no one does, a new election law would be triggered sending the top two vote-getters — regardless of political affiliation — on to a general election on July 12.
The race is widely expected to come down to a duel between Bowen and Hahn, the Democrats with the most name recognition.
Bowen is in her second term as secretary of state, saying she has focused on making business filings more efficient. She served in the Assembly and state Senate from 1992-2006, during which time she said she focused on issues of government transparency and accountability.
Hahn has served on the Los Angeles City Council since 2001, saying job creation and cleaning up pollution at the Port of Los Angeles were her top priorities. She also backed multibillion-dollar modernization plan at Los
Angeles International Airport.
Both candidates have campaigned heavily on job creation, education issues and the environment.
The campaign between the two turned ugly in the last few days before the election, with each campaign accusing the other of being beholden to special interests, specifically the oil and gas industry.
“The fact is, Debra Bowen has accepted more than $300,000 in special interest money from big oil, health insurance and drug companies, gambling interests, Wall Street banks, big phone companies, developers and even Enron,” read a mailer sent by the Hahn campaign over the weekend.
Luis Vizcaino of the Bowen campaign said “it’s not surprising that our opponent in the last several days has resorted to negative mailers smearing Secretary Bowen’s environmental record. The attacks are ridiculous, laughable, baseless and hypocritical.”
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