California Republican to be in congressional runoff vote

Reuters News
Posted: May 20, 2011 10:46 AM
California Republican to be in congressional runoff vote

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California congressional seat will be contested in a runoff vote between a Democratic Los Angeles city councilwoman and a Republican businessman, after a third challenger conceded defeat on Thursday.

The candidates competed in a Tuesday election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Democrat Jane Harman, in the first test of new open-primary rules for California that have received the nickname "jungle primary."

The top two vote getters were Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Republican business consultant Craig Huey, and they will compete in a July 12 runoff ballot.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a Democrat who had also entered the race, was in third place at last count, and on Thursday she said she was conceding defeat.

Under the state's new open-primary rules, if no single candidate wins a majority of the vote in an initial election, the top two vote getters compete in the runoff.

If Bowen had placed in the top two, voters could have been presented with the unusual choice of two Democratic candidates in the final election for the seat, which runs largely along the Los Angeles County coast from San Pedro to Venice Beach.

Harman, 65, served nine terms in the House of Representatives and resigned to head a prestigious Washington think tank on foreign relations.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Greg McCune)