Janice Hahn: The Winner

Janice Hahn got out early and hard and maintained her frontrunner status for 7 months.

That in itself is a feat few candidates maintain in a competitive contest.

She garnered numerous endorsements which led to a huge money advantage to control the debate as well as the tenor of the discussion. It’s a tribute to her and her staff for staying disciplined and not being afraid to mix-it-up with her opponents when necessary. Her team was able to correctly analyze polling data to position their candidate to win in both phases of the contest. It was a well run, textbook effort.

Janice Hahn is a pro.

She accurately compared and contrasted herself to her opponents in both the primary and the runoff in effective fashion despite a poor political environment to run as a Democrat. Some will call that negative campaigning.

I call it political reality.

Candidates go negative because it works. It persuades voters. Politics is a contact sport and sometimes you have to get close and mix-it-up with your opponent to win. To run for seven months as Hahn did in an unfamiliar election timetable for voters was challenging enough to say nothing of a new primary process that included a runoff provision. In the end, the process actually worked in favor of Democrats by having Huey in the runoff which allowed Democrats to stop fighting Democrats and focus on the Tea Party conservative.

A Democrat versus Democrat scenario in the runoff would have been  further debilitating for morale and might of set-up a potential rematch after redistricting in 2012.

Thankfully, that shouldn’t be the case.

This is why this new primary system needs to be challenged in the courts.

Cannibalization of Democrats in future open primaries needs to be avoided at all costs.

A primary by definition is a partisan process for political parties to choose nominees. It isn’t a process of elimination despite of one’s party preference. Some may say Hahn underperformed in a blue district. I disagree. Given the economy and voter tolerance for candidates & campaigns, this was a solid win.

Congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Hahn on a well deserved victory.

She certainly earned it.

Nick Antonicello


  1. A. Sears says

    Sorry, I’m not buying this. CA-36 has a big Dem registration advantage, so there was no “poor political environment” in which Janice Hahn had to run. I was open to Hahn as a candidate initially, but I was turned off by her sleazy campaign against Bowen. And the author seems to be arguing both sides. It’s okay if Hahn attacked Bowen, but let’s not have Dems attacking Dems in the future. Too bad, you reap what you sow. Hopefully Janice Hahn will be a progressive in the House.

  2. George says

    I’m no fan of dynasties. Hahn won the primary because Marci Winograd siphoned off votes from Debra Bowen, who probably would have joined the Congressional Democratic Progressive Caucus (word order from faulty memory). Either is better than Harman, but we have to see whether that is good enough.

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