Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BREAKING! Debra Bowen Will Formally Announce Today She's Running For Jane Harman's Seat

And then there were two.

Today, on the same day Jane Harman officially vacated her seat in Congress, Secretary of State Debra Bowen will announce she's joining LA City Janice Hahn in the race to replace Harman.

If successful, this would be Debra Bowen's second time representing the area. Bowen was elected to represent the 53rd Assembly District in 1992 and was re-elected in 1994 and 1996 before being elected to represent the 28th Senate District in 1998. Bowen was re-elected to her second and final four-year Senate term in 2002, representing the 28th District which stretches from Venice in the north, down the coast to Redondo Beach, then east to include all or parts of Carson, San Pedro, Long Beach, and Wilmington.

During her time in the Legislature, she was best known for shepherding laws that require that all election results be audited using the paper trail produced by electronic voting machines, laws allowing people to become permanent absentee voters, and laws which unlocked the Legislature's computer files and gave computer users Internet access to information about bills, committee analyses and legislators' voting records.

Bowen was also the first California lawmaker to voluntarily put her campaign finance reports online in 1995, several years before all candidates for state office were required to do so.

In 2006, Bowen was elected as Secretary of State, only the sixth woman to be elected to state-wide constitutional office. She was elected to a second term in 2010.

The race to replace Harman is likely to a competitive one. Janice Hahn has already racked up an impressive list of endorsements, including LA Councilman Bill Rosendahl (who lives in CA-36), LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, CA Assembly Speaker John Perez and, most notably, Senator Diane Feinstein.

How these endorsements will translate into votes is unclear at this point. Bowen and Hahn aren't likely to stay the only two candidates in this race, with two-time Harman primary challenger Marcy Winograd reportedly contemplating a run, and a number of Republicans and Tea Party members also considering their options.

Governor Jerry Brown has until March 1st to set a date for a special election to fill Harman's seat. According to Janice Hahn, the primary election will likely be held on April 12, with a general election coming sometime in June.

The special election primary will be held under new "open primary" rules. Voters can select any candidate, regardless of party affiliation. If no candidate gets 50% +1, the top two vote-getters will have to run against each other in a June runoff.

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