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From L.A.'s new political maps, an interesting congressional race

May 10, 2012|By Sandra Hernandez
  • Janice Hahn represents the 36th Congressional District.
Janice Hahn represents the 36th Congressional District. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

In the race for the new 44th Congressional District, two Democrat incumbents are pitted against each other. Rep Janice Hahn, who currently represents the 36th District, is running against Rep. Laura Richardson, who represents the 37th District.

The race is worth following not just because it’s a smack-down between two Democrats but also because it’s one of several congressional seats drawn specifically to comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

What does that mean? Essentially that the California Citizens Redistricting Commission established the 44th, along with the 29th, 32th, 34th, 38th and 40th, as majority Latino districts to ensure that minority groups weren’t disenfranchised and their power at the ballot box wasn’t diluted. Latinos make up just over 49% of the citizen voting-age population in the 44th District, while African Americans account for 28% of potential voters and Asians for just under 10%.

The interesting thing in this race is that there is no Latino candidate running. Of course, the intent of the Voting Rights Act is that Latinos can elect the candidate of their choice, not to require that a Latino candidate run in that district.

However, what will really matter on election day is how many Latinos have registered to vote and how many turn out to vote.

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