Democrat Janice Hahn handily defeated Republican challenger Craig Huey in the CA-36 election last night, held to replace retired Democrat Jane Harman.
The race drew national attention because it was surprisingly tough for Hahn, given the enormous Democrat registration advantage in the district, which the Associated Press pegs at 18 points. In the end, Hahn won by 9 points, 54.6% to 45.4%.
This was a real choice for Californians, and they went with the high-rolling, big-spending Hahn, who famously threw bales of taxpayer money to gang members when she was on the L.A. city council, by putting them on the city payroll as “gang intervention specialists.” One of these “specialists” was paid more than a million dollars under Hahn’s wise governance, but ended up in jail for dealing machine guns.
Telling the truth about this astounding government boondoggle was denounced as “vicious campaigning.” Hahn actually sent a cease and desist letter to the local Fox affiliate to suppress reporting on the story. It didn’t work, but Hahn got elected anyway.
There aren’t many tea leaves to read here. Hahn’s margin of victory was less than it should have been, given the realities on the ground in the district, but not in a one-point-squeaker way that would have generated aftershocks. It was previously a Democrat seat, so the balance of power didn’t change.
Turnout was light, and the National Journal gives much of the credit for Hahn’s victory to “a robocall from former President Bill Clinton and the phone banks organized by Obama for America.” It’s moderately interesting that voters would elect such an obviously horrible candidate, but hey, this is California.
Now that she’s in Congress, maybe Hahn could introduce legislation to take her “gang intervention” program national, and feed it billions instead of millions. Then, one day, we might enjoy the spectacle of a federal “gang intervention specialist” with a lavish taxpayer salary, which he augments by dealing “Gun Walker” weapons imported from Mexico or Honduras, where they were pushed by a program funded with Obama stimulus money. Perhaps voters will then pause to contemplate their own role in producing uncontrolled government spending and endless national debt.
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