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Democrat Ends Bid, Leaves Hahn and Richardson to Fight in California

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Janice Hahn is set to face off against Rep. Laura Richardson in California's 44th district.

It’s now just a two-Member race in California’s new 44th district.

Democratic state Assemblyman Isadore Hall announced today that he is dropping his Congressional bid to instead run for re-election. His exit leaves only Democratic Reps. Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson, propelled together thanks to redistricting, running in the new south Los Angeles district.

Hahn and Richardson, one of three Member-vs.-Member races in California next year, are now set for two face-offs: the June jungle primary, which would serve as a test run for a two-person race, and the November general election.

Hall, who endorsed Richardson in his first run for Congress in a 2007 special election, was the first candidate in the race after the state redistricting commission released a draft map in June. Richardson was drawn into a neighboring district and had not yet opted to run in the 44th, and Hahn’s home was not drawn into the 44th until mapmakers completed another version later.

Hall, a Compton native, is a former president of the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees. He was elected to the Compton City Council in 2003 and then elected to the state Assembly in 2008. He considered running in the 2007 special before endorsing Richardson.

“Weeks after my announcement, the Redistricting Commission changed the district boundaries, ultimately creating a district that two incumbent Democratic Members of Congress are now seeking,” Hall said in a statement today. “The fact is, the race for Congress was never about me. It was never my intention to engage in an expensive intra-party war.”

Hall actually led the two Members of Congress in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter — $126,000 to $120,000 for Hahn and $117,000 for Richardson — but the Members’ fundraising pace should accelerate after a full quarter has passed since the lines were redrawn.

Both Members have significant debt, however. Richardson had $460,000 in debt at the end of September, about twice as much as Hahn. The fourth quarter filing deadline is Saturday.

Hahn, a former city councilwoman who won a special election this year, has been working hard to get an early edge in this safe Democratic district. Her campaign has lined up local union endorsements and released a poll in August showing her well ahead of both Richardson and Hall.

Richardson, meanwhile, is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. The committee announced in November it is looking into whether Richardson compelled her Hill staffers to attend campaign events, run personal errands and work on her re-election effort.

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