If you thought Scott Brown taking the late Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in Massachusetts was the biggest political upset you would ever see, you could be wrong, as a Republican is making strong strides to represent Venice Beach.
Democrats often roll up landslide victories for their candidates in coastal California, especially in the 36th Congressional District, which runs from the famous Venice boardwalk through the beaches south of Los Angeles International Airport.
In a season of turbulent politics, a little-noticed runoff election Tuesday for the House seat vacated by former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman has become unusually competitive.
Supporters for the Democratic candidate, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, are jittery, while Republicans see a potential upset in the making for businessman Craig Huey, who owns marketing and advertising companies and has largely bankrolled his campaign with at least $795,000 in personal funds.
Huey even making it to the ballot is a victory in itself, considering the state’s new “jungle” primary rules where all candidates are placed on a single ballot. On his way to Tuesday’s special election, the Republican Huey had to beat Democrat California Secretary of State Debra Bowen in May’s primary.
Constituents of the district have responded to Huey’s calls to cut federal spending, repeal excessive business regulation and lower taxes. Some have speculated that the real chance of victory in L.A. could signal things to come in 2012. The Sacramento Bee:
“Despite a commanding 18-point registration edge for Democrats in the district, tallies of mail-in ballots suggest a potentially tight finish. Hahn remains the favorite, but the likelihood of a paltry turnout in a mid-summer special election means a small number of votes could swing the result.
In a state with double-digit unemployment, a housing crisis and government budget problems ‘voters are cranky and don’t feel good about what’s going on,’ said veteran Democratic consultant Bill Carrick.
‘The potential for surprises in elections – not just in this election, but in the next year or so – are pretty high,”‘Carrick added.”
Left-leaning groups like Organizing for America is appealing to supporters to make thousands of phone calls, while the conservative California Republican Assembly wrote to supporters in an email Friday,”this is the West Coast’s ‘Scott Brown moment.’” Craig Huey interviewed by Neil Cavuto in June:
The Associated Press contributed to this article.