You might guess that Isadore Hall's departure from the race for the 44th Congressional District would cause black voters to rally around the lone remaining black candidate: Rep. Laura Richardson.
Not so, says Rep. Janice Hahn — who is fighting to keep the seat in Congress that she won last July.
Hahn's campaign issued a poll memo today that claims that 52% of Hall's vote goes to her. Only 35% goes to Richardson. Advantage: Hahn.
Richardson's campaign isn't buying it.
“I'd take basic logic over a poll memo,” said Eric Hacopian, Richardson's campaign consultant. “You have two African-American candidates in a predominantly African-American district. Now you're down to one African-American. By any logic, that's good for Laura Richardson and it's not good for Janice Hahn.”
Au contraire, says John Fairbank, Hahn's pollster. He argues that Richardson has high negatives, which is pushing Hall voters into the Hahn camp.
“[Richardson] just overall has a more polarized name-ID than Hahn does,” Fairbank said.
Really though, the only person who benefits from Hall's departure is Isadore Hall. He'll get to hang on to his Assembly seat, and won't have to suffer a rout in the Congressional primary.
As for Hahn and Richardson, it doesn't really make any difference, because they'll have to face each other in a runoff anyway. In that matchup, Hahn claims to have an overwhelming lead over Richardson: 47-26.
Note: Hahn's memo is based on a poll conducted in August, before she got into the race. So along with all the usual grains of salt that come with internal polls, add the fact that this one is five months old.