L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn unveiled yet another big endorsement for her Congressional campaign this morning: South Bay Sen. Ted Lieu.
If endorsements determined the outcome, then Hahn would be a lock to defeat Secretary of State Debra Bowen. So far, Hahn has secured dozens of them, including those of big names like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Magic Johnson. Bowen hasn't released any.
One thing that could be standing in Bowen's way is her own policy of not endorsing in races that she oversees as Secretary of State.
Bowen wants to stay impartial, but that means that a lot of elected officials don't feel they owe her anything.
Bowen has responded to concerns that Hahn has a big lead by saying that endorsements don't matter much, especially in a race where both candidates are well known. Responding to the Lieu endorsement today, Bowen's consultant, Steve Barkan said:
Bowen's record on consumer protection, environmental protection and green jobs, transparency in government, and fighting to improve our schools — and of course her work to protect the vote is far more important to voters than which politicians support other politicians.
Bowen also responded to skeptics on Twitter this weekend:
I have my own path in #CA36 bid. Already talking abt $$ spent in Afghanistan. It adds to deficit, ignores our needs at home, costs lives.
Bowen appears to be branding herself early on as the anti-war candidate, in part to prevent defections to Marcy Winograd. Hahn, meanwhile, has been talking about jobs, jobs and Israel.
Hahn announced Lieu's endorsement this morning at Balqon Corporation in Harbor City, which produces electric trucks for the Port of Los Angeles.
“We want to make the South Bay a hub for clean energy,” Hahn said.
“On the single most important issue, job creation, Janice Hahn has by far the superior record,” Lieu said. “She has gotten people to work and created jobs.”
We're still watching Hahn's bold gambit to lure Winograd into the race with a pro-Israel pledge. Asked this morning if that's an issue on the top of voters' minds in the 36th District, Hahn said, “If voters in the district care about the security of this country, then the U.S. has always counted on Israel being one of our major allies.”
The pledge includes language denouncing Winograd, so when Bowen quickly signed it last Friday it made Winograd more likely to get into the race. That hurts Bowen, because both are drawing from the same pool of supporters.
As a politician, Hahn tends to lead with her heart. But this episode demonstrates that she also has an ample Machiavellian side.