NPR logo Janice Hahn Wins California Special Election For House Seat

Janice Hahn Wins California Special Election For House Seat

File photo of Congresswoman-elect Janice Hahn. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images hide caption

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

File photo of Congresswoman-elect Janice Hahn.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Democrat Janice Hahn defeated Republican Craig Huey to win Tuesday's special election to fill an open U.S. House seat from California.

Hahn, a Los Angeles City councilwoman, won the race which turned ugly early, with 54.6 percent of the vote compared to Huey's 45.4 percent.

Democrats have an 18-percentage point registration advantage in the district over Republicans so Hahn's less-than-double-digit margin of victory was seen as something of a moral win for Huey.

Huey, a businessman with Tea Party backing, funded his campaign mostly out of his own resources.

MapLight.org, a non-partisan group that spotlights the nexus between money and politics, examined the sources of both candidates' money:

According to a MapLight analysis, as of Saturday, July 9, Hahn has raised just over $1.3 million dollars, with over $871,000 coming from contributions provided by individuals and $438,000 coming from PACs. Huey has raised almost $1.1 million, including over $883,000 in self-financing. The remainder of Huey's contributions are comprised of almost $153,000 from individuals and over $31,000 from PACs.

The race to fill the seat left vacant when the 36th Congressional District's long time Democratic congresswoman, Jane Harman, retired earlier this year to run a Washington think tank, was being watched nationally as a possible indicator of major party fortunes in the 2012 congressional races.

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It will be difficult to use Hahn's victory as a bellwether since she was a Democrat who won a seat in a heavily Democratic-leaning district, which was expected. And she won by a significant margin.

For Hahn, it was a bittersweet victory. Her 86-year old mother died the day before.