Gov. Jerry Brown today announced that the special primary election to replace Jane Harman in Congress will be held on May 17.

Harman, who is leaving to head up a foreign policy think tank, delayed her resignation to allow Brown to consolidate the special election with the June tax-extension measure.

That would have saved the state some money. Well, so much for that. Today's the deadline for Brown to call the congressional election, and there's still no agreement from Sacramento on a tax vote. So Brown called the congressional primary for May 17 and the general for July 12.

But that doesn't mean Brown is giving up on the June tax extension…

“Our office continues to shoot for a budget-related ballot measure that would go before voters on June 7,” said Evan Westrup, Brown's spokesman. “Talks are ongoing. It's an issue that is very time-sensitive.”

If Brown somehow gets his tax vote in June, voters in Harman's South Bay district could — if they chose — go to the polls once a month between May and July.

L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Secretary of State Debra Bowen are the two top contenders for Harman's seat. There are at least four other challengers, including anti-war activist Marcy Winograd and three Republicans: Hermosa Beach Councilman Kit Bobko, Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin, and Redondo Beach City Attorney Mike Webb.

If no one gets a majority in May, the top two vote-getters — regardless of party — will advance to the July 12 general election.

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