Rep. Jane Harman to leave Congress on Tuesday to allow for a June special election


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Retiring Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) said Thursday she will resign her House seat on Tuesday to allow for a special election in early June to replace her.

Harman, who has been criticized for accepting a job with a Washington think tank so soon after winning reelection in November, said she wants to make the election ‘as inexpensive and as convenient for voters as possible’ by allowing it to be held at the same time as a possible statewide election on taxes.


She said she has had two conversations with Gov. Jerry Brown about the timing of her resignation. Once her seat is vacant, the governor can call a special election within a specific time frame. He is hoping to ask voters in June to extend several expiring tax increases in order to help the state out of its budget deficit. Republicans in the Legislature, whose approval is needed to put the measure on the ballot, have so far balked.

Harman told constituents Monday of her plans to accept a job as head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; she starts her new job Feb. 28.

The 17-year House veteran, in a meeting with reporters in her El Segundo district office Thursday, said the decision to leave the House was ‘excruciating’ and that she regretted the cost to taxpayers. But she said she had no idea when running for reelection that the position would be open and said it presented an irresistible opportunity for a ‘new chapter’ in her career.

She said she would not endorse a candidate to replace her because her new job brings her ‘into a nonpartisan’ world, but that she would maintain a home and vote in the South Bay-based 36th Congressional District.

-- Jean Merl