Tuesday's special election in California's 36th District is a prequel to what will likely be the main event on July 12. If no candidate gets a majority of votes cast -- highly unlikely in the crowded 16 person field -- the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff in the first test of the state's new "jungle primary" system.
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The Frontrunners: Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn jumped into the race almost immediately after now-former Rep. Jane Harman announced in February she'd step down to head the Woodrow Wilson Center. Hahn and Harman are close, and while Hahn doesn't have the former congresswoman's official endorsement, Harman did provide her with a heads-up she was leaving. Hahn comes from a well-known political family -- her brother, James, served as the city's mayor from 2001 until 2005, and her father, Kenneth, was a county supervisor for forty years.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen took a bit longer to officially decide, but since her entrance, the two women have been at the top of a very crowded pack in the all-party primary. Hahn quickly rolled out endorsement after endorsement of other Members of the state's Congressional delegation, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and even former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. She's also garnered most of the labor endorsements in the race.