As you may have heard by now, Craig Huey lost to Janice Hahn in California’s special election last night. The final tally was
Janice Hahn 41,585 votes, 54.56%
Craig Huey 34,636 votes, 45.44%
This photo I took of the Craig Huey headquarters late in the evening, as it became clear the numbers weren’t going his way, conveys the sort of emptiness one feels when an election is lost:
The party is over.
A few hours earlier, when the outcome was still unknown and hope was in the air, Craig Huey enthusiastically gave interviews to the media.
Here’s Huey (in silhouette) exiting out onto the headquarters’ roof patio where a staffer was projecting live returns from a computer onto the wall.
I was not so much interested in the results as I was in noting the bookmarked web pages the Huey campaign had on its browser’s “favorites” bar: Drudge Report, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, and…Pajamas Media! Imagine my shock.
Throughout the evening, volunteers ocassionally gathered around a TV to watch news reports of the election returns, with the enthusiasm ebbing away each time as it became increasingly clear that the numbers weren’t budging.
In fact, the only “news” from the results for the pundits to dissect was that everything turned out exactly as forecasts had predicted. Hahn started out the evening with a 9% lead in the absentee ballots. Then as the first results came in, she maintained her 9% lead. And as all the remaining precincts started reporting, her lead changed to…9%. At the end of the evening, it was…well, 9%.
How weird is that?
The strange part is that the extensive door-to-door campaigning by the Huey volunteers could not close the gap; nor did the smear campaign by Hahn knock Huey out of contention. In the end, the final results were precisely what the earliest indications were at the very beginning of the campaign. Perhaps the only explanation is that the grassroots politicking was exactly cancelled out by the smears.
As I pointed out in my earlier report, after the district was redrawn after the 2000 census, the Democratic candidate had won by a margin ranging from 25% to 37% in every single election. So Huey holding Hahn to a 9% win in a district this blue is a respectable result.
But a loss is still a loss. And now we’re stuck with the awful Janice Hahn in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ugh.
Hopefully, she won’t have time to do much damage over the next 14 months before the 2012 elections. The good part? The district is about to be re-apportioned again, so that next time around CA-36 could possibly be more competitive and not so solidly blue, depending on how the gerrymandering works out. So maybe we won’t see Hahn enjoying a lifetime career in Congress, cruising to effortless victories as the incumbent in a Democratic lock district year after year, like so many of her L.A. colleagues.
As far as her politics, she seemed during the campaign to (consciously) parrot every single thing Obama says (“green jobs,” “withdraw the troops,” blah blah blah blah), so you can basically expect Hahn to be an Obamabot and vote the Obama line each and every time.