Well, this is gonna get ugly. Rep. Janice Hahn announced today that she will run in the redrawn 44th Congressional District.

The district runs from Watts to San Pedro, and includes much of her former City Council district. So what's the problem?

The problem is that this is one of three L.A.-area districts carved out for African-Americans. And, as we've pointed out before, Janice Hahn is not black.

Assemblyman Isadore Hall and Rep. Laura Richardson, who are both black, are also running for this seat. Hahn can rightly point to a long history of representing black voters, and will also likely invoke her father, Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, early and often.

But that doesn't mean race won't be a central issue in the campaign. Race was a major theme back in 2007, when the late Sen. Jenny Oropeza ran in the “black” 37th district and faced strong resistance. Hahn is likely to face much the same hostility.

In her press release, Hahn said she will run in the 44th “because I live in it.”

“I know many of these communities and I understand the issues that affect them,” she said.

Hahn won her seat last month, replacing retiring Rep. Jane Harman. But much of her coastal 36th District has been drawn into Rep. Henry Waxman's district. Another portion has been drawn into Maxine Waters' district. Hahn can't viably run in either one, leaving her the choice of running in the 44th or retiring after just over a year in Congress.

Now that she's decided to go for it, this should be at least as compelling and hard-fought as the Berman-Sherman slugfest in the Valley.

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