Yesterday in the California 36th Congressional district, Democrat Janice Hahn beat Republican Craig Huey by a margin of 54.6% to 45.4% in the special election. Janice Hahn will become the newest member of the Democratic caucus taking the seat formally held by Democrat Jane Harman, who resigned in February.
Early in the month there had been some speculation that Huey might have had a chance of winning this seat because Hahn was considered a weak candidate, but these speculations proved baseless. The 36th is an extremely Democratic leaning district with a PVI of D+12. That overwhelming Democratic advantage was more than enough in and of itself to assure Hahn victory.
This is the first Congressional election in that state to be carried out under the new “top two primary” rules, where the top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party, advance on to the general election. Washington State has been using this primary system for several years and after examining hundreds of elections in that state, I found the partisan share of the vote in the primary tends to closely match that partisan breakdown in the general.
This pattern held up in this special election in California. The Democratic share of the vote in the May 17th primary was 56.1 percent, closely matching the 54.6 percent Democrat Hahn received in the general.