LOS ANGELES – Democrat Janice Hahn defeated Republican Craig Huey in a bitter contest for a Southern California House seat, preserving her party’s hold on the congressional district and surviving an unusually tough race in a longtime stronghold.
With all reporting, Hahn, a Los Angeles city councilwoman, had 41,585 votes, or about 55 percent, to 34,636, or about 45 percent, for Huey, who owns marketing and advertising companies and largely bankrolled his campaign with nearly $900,000 in personal funds.
Hahn called the victory bittersweet as she mourned the unexpected death of her 86-year-old mother on Monday. Hahn abruptly suspended her schedule on the eve of Election Day.
With a light turnout and widespread voter anxiety over the economy, Republicans were hoping for an upset that would send a message heading toward the 2012 national elections, in which President Barack Obama will seek a second term.
But Hahn’s victory was far from impressive, given an 18-point Democratic registration edge in the 36th Congressional District.