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Hahn Plans to Run for a 10th Term, Sources Say

February 04, 1988|RICH CONNELL | Times Staff Writer

After some soul-searching about his ability to serve, ailing Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn is expected next week to affirm his intention to seek a 10th four-year term in June, informed sources said Wednesday.

The 68-year-old supervisor, who suffered a paralyzing stroke last year and has been personally disappointed with his recovery, has told close friends and supporters that after consulting his doctors and praying for guidance he has decided to run for reelection, according to sources close to Hahn who asked not to be named.

Called at home for comment, Hahn referred questions to his press secretary, Dan Wolf, who would say only that Hahn has scheduled a press conference for Monday morning at an Inglewood hotel to make a "major political announcement."

"We are not confirming or denying any rumors," Wolf said. "He is going to make his intentions known on Monday. Anything said by anyone before then is speculative."

Call to Backers

But sources told The Times that Hahn, who remains confined to a wheelchair and works a limited schedule, now says he expects to run and has invited key political supporters to join him at the press conference.

Two prominent black ministers and longtime supporters in Hahn's heavily minority south Los Angeles County district urged the supervisor last week to reconsider his political plans, with an eye toward helping to ensure that someone representing a new generation of black leaders ascend to his seat.

Hahn late last week confirmed a report that he was reconsidering his political plans, although he said it was not a result of the comments by the black ministers.

While Hahn still enjoys strong support among black leaders in his district, many have expressed concern that he may no longer be physically up to the duties of the office. They are even more worried that if Hahn runs and is reelected--as most expect he would be--he might die before finishing another term in 1992.

That would give Gov. George Deukmejian, a conservative Republican, a chance to appoint a successor in Hahn's liberal Democratic district.

Hahn was absent for seven months after his stroke in January, 1987. Since returning to his duties in August, he has missed about half of the board's regular meetings and been rushed to the hospital twice after suffering seizures. Hahn, who recently began acupuncture treatments to try and stimulate his muscles and nerves, has declined to discuss the medical advice he is receiving or his doctors' prognosis. But in an interview late last year he conceded that his physicians have not suggested he will make significant additional improvement.

While Hahn has acknowledged his recovery has been slower than he hoped, he insists he is gaining strength and can effectively represent his constituents.

Reports that Hahn will push ahead with his campaign came the same day that the Los Angeles Herald Examiner said it was time for him to step down. Sources close to Hahn said that the editorial may have hastened his plans to make an announcement.

If Hahn does run, it is expected to discourage some prominent potential contestants, such as Rep. Julian Dixon (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblywoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles). Dixon has said he will not seek the seat if it means running against Hahn. Hahn has received more than 80% of the vote in all but one election since 1956.

In the coming race, however, some black leaders have hinted privately that they might give consideration to backing a strong, qualified black challenger, should one emerge.

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