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California - 36th District

Incumbent -- Jane Harman (D) ; Resigned from office effective , .

Safe Democratic
Race Ratings Key

Updated Oct. 26, 2009

Harman faced a flap in late April 2009 over a leaked FBI wiretap that appeared to showed her trying to quash a federal spy case in exchange for an interest group's support for her bid to secure a House chairmanship. But the full political fallout of the incident is hard to gauge.

Progressive Democrats have long been eager to oust Harman, who they view as too hawkish on foreign affairs, so this could stir up a potentially tough primary challenge. Teacher Marcy Winograd, who took 36 percent of the vote against Harman running to her left in a 2006 primary, is going to try again. The question is whether a more formidable Democratic primary opponent will emerge.

Mattie Fein, founder of the Institute for Persian Studies, and financial adviser Peter Kesterson are seeking the Republican nomination. But it would be an unexpected turn of events for the GOP to be able to make a serious run in this district, which gave 64 percent of its votes to Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential contest.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 36th is home to some of Los Angeles' most famous beaches and biggest aerospace firms. The district begins in the Venice area of the city, then runs along the Pacific coast south through El Segundo to Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo beaches before hitting Torrance. It then skirts inland, picking up parts of the Wilmington and San Pedro neighborhoods.

Torrance, the district's largest whole city, is dotted with oil wells and derricks. The ExxonMobil refinery in the north end of the city, along with Chevron in El Segundo, help fuel Southern California. Torrance is also home to the sales headquarters of several major automakers, and its Del Amo Fashion Center is one of the largest malls in the country.

Economic slowdowns affected retail sectors, the auto industry, construction and manufacturing, and recent layoffs at Northrop Grumman have added uncertainty. The aerospace industry -- based out of El Segundo, Redondo Beach and Torrance -- long provided stability for the district's highly educated residents, and some firms have converted jobs to non-defense projects in order to diversify the economy. The posh, white-collar areas of the district are not immune to rising unemployment and home foreclosure rates.

Torrance is split politically: It is wealthier toward the coast, but inland sections include middle- and working-class areas that have conservative and labor-heavy pockets. Venice's eclectic beaches are considered the state's most liberal havens outside of Berkeley, while Manhattan Beach and Marina del Rey are ritzier. Overall, the 36th is trending more Democratic and gave Barack Obama 64 percent of its 2008 presidential vote.

Major Industry

Aerospace, technology, manufacturing

Military Bases

Los Angeles Air Force Base, 1,497 military, 869 civilian (2010)


Los Angeles (pt.), 300,582; Torrance, 145,438; Redondo Beach, 66,748; Manhattan Beach, 35,135


The Hyperion sewage treatment plant in Playa del Rey, the former focus of a lengthy lawsuit, is now one of the cleanest plants in the region.




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