Hahn, Barger elected to L.A. County Board of Supervisors

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Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger were elected Tuesday night to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, marking the election of a female majority and a continued leftward shift for the influential panel.

The election also continues the sea change in county government that has followed the passing of term limits in 2002, which limited supervisors to three four-year terms. This year, two conservative supervisors, Michael D. Antonovich and Don Knabe — who were elected in 1980 and 1996, respectively — are being forced out of office.

With all precincts reporting, Hahn, a Democratic congresswoman, received 56% of the vote in the county’s 4th District, defeating Steve Napolitano, an aide to outgoing Supervisor Don Knabe.


Barger, a moderate Republican and the longtime chief of staff for outgoing Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, received 59% of the vote in the 5th District, defeating Darrell Park, a green energy entrepreneur and former White House staffer.

Both women — who won their primaries — are heavily backed by public employee unions, and their election marks a shift in which four of the five supervisors are progressive Democrats. The board is currently split 3-2.

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Victories for Hahn and Barger mean that, for the first time, four out of five supervisors will be women.

“This election represents the second and final step of a profound generational change in Los Angeles County politics,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

Democratic Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina were forced out by term limits in 2014, after having each served two decades in the office.


“More than any bridge or road or school, there’s a legacy of collaborative achievement that this generation of board members leaves behind,” Schnur said. “The absence of term limits allowed them to develop relationships that transcended partisan and ideological differences.”

Hahn is the daughter of former Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. Her conservative opponent in the 4th District race, Steve Napolitano, is an aide to outgoing Supervisor Don Knabe.

The candidates have verbally attacked each other in recent months and gone to court over a large campaign finance violation.

The county Registrar-Recorder found that Hahn broke campaign finance rules by accepting almost $300,000 over the limit imposed on contributions from political action committees.

Napolitano filed a lawsuit. Hahn, in turn, slammed him as “a slumlord millionaire” trying to silence the voices of working folks.

Hahn’s campaign faces another campaign finance controversy after a Times investigation, published in October, revealed that hundreds of thousands of dollars had been contributed to politicians, including Hahn, by people with ties to a single developer who was pushing through a controversial apartment complex. Nearly a dozen of the contributors couldn’t remember — or denied — giving the money.


Hahn was the largest beneficiary of the questionable contributions, receiving a total of $203,500. She told The Times that there had been no indications of illegality.

In response to the article, Napolitano called for the formation of a county ethics commission to oversee campaign finance disclosures.

Before the polls closed Tuesday, Napolitano said in an interview that a liberal Democratic super majority would mean “ignoring fiscal responsibility and the need to provide services to the many, not just the few.”

The Board of Supervisors is officially nonpartisan. But party affiliation has played an outsized role in the 5th District race between Barger and her opponent, green energy entrepreneur Darrell Park.

Park, a former staffer in the White House Office of Management and Budget, has highlighted his Democratic Party credentials and filed a proposed ballot statement saying that Barger would support presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “extreme Republican agenda.”

A judge ordered the wording stricken after Barger challenged it in court.

Park said Tuesday that people he met on the campaign trail wanted change and were unhappy with the level of services they got from the county. He said he was proud of his campaign.


“We didn’t need the expensive commercials. We didn’t need the expensive billboards. We got outspent double digits to one. That’s fine. We’re really proud of what we have done,” he said.

Barger said she wanted to hit the ground running if she is elected.

“I’m ready to ... put into play what I’ve promised the voters I’m going to do,” she said.

Twitter: @adamelmahrek

Twitter: @haileybranson



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Nov. 9, 11:19 a.m.: This article was updated with the election results.

8:30 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Darrell Park and Kathryn Barger.

2:15 p.m.: This article was updated with an interview from Dan Schnur.

This article was originally published at 5 a.m. on Nov. 8.