DOWNEY – U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn is heading into a runoff election with second-place finisher Steve Napolitano this November after failing to reach 50% of the vote in her bid for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
With 100% of the precincts reporting, Hahn finished in first place, garnering 47% of the vote in the Fourth District. Napolitano, a former mayor of Manhattan Beach and senior deputy to Supervisor Don Knabe, received nearly 37% of the vote.
Whittier Union High School District board member Ralph Pacheco ended Tuesday night with just 15%.
First elected in 1996, Knabe is being termed out of office this fall, leaving a coveted vacancy on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, which manages a $28 billion budget and oversees social services, public health and welfare programs that affect 10 million people.
Hahn, a former Los Angeles City Council member, has enjoyed high name recognition in the race. Her father Kenneth Hahn served on the board of supervisors for 40 years and her brother James K. Hahn was once the mayor of Los Angeles.
“I’ve been fighting for people my whole life,” Janice Hahn said in a candidates’ forum last week. “The L.A. Times says my biggest weakness is my heart...that I care too much. If anyone is going to prick the conscience of the board [of supervisors] to do the right thing, it’s me.”
Nonetheless, Napolitano has leveraged his local experience and community connections to score dozens of endorsements -- including Knabe’s endorsement.
“Nobody knows the Fourth District better than me and I have a record of achievement,” said Napolitano last month. “We don’t need an L.A.-centric, Washington, D.C. approach to the county. We need a public servant.”
While Hahn is a Democrat and Napolitano is a registered Republican, ideologically both agree on increasing funding for early childhood education, expanding affordable housing opportunities, safeguarding health benefits for undocumented immigrants, and exploring special taxes to raise funds for homeless services.
Heading into the general election, Napolitano’s campaign is doubling down on its message that voters are looking for local representation.
“Results of the June 7 primary election show that more than a majority of the voters of the Fourth Los Angeles County Supervisorial District want an end to the pandering and establishment politics by blocking establishment candidate Janice Hahn from her L.A. City power grab and winning a straight run towards the open supervisorial seat,” said Mike Madrid, campaign strategist for Napolitano.
The board of supervisors is nonpartisan, but until recently, it has been represented by many moderate Republicans like Knabe. However, with the recent election of supervisors Hilda Solis and Shiela Kuehl, signs indicate the board’s makeup is shifting left.
The Fourth District stretches from the South Bay, down to Long Beach, and up through Downey and Whittier into Diamond Bar.