Hahn, Barger prevailing in LA county supervisors race

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Even if the leading candidates for two Los Angeles County supervisor seats have not formally declared victory following Tuesday's election, the county Democratic Party has effectively done so for Janice Hahn in one contest while conceding the other to Republican Kathryn Barger.

As of Thursday afternoon, Hahn and Barger had solid leads in the two open-seat races for Board of Supervisors, although about 1 million county ballots remain to be counted.

Barger held a commanding lead of 59-41 over Darrell Park, while Hahn led with 56 percent of the vote against her opponent, Steve Napolitano, who stood at 44 percent.

In a statement Thursday, the county Democratic Party congratulated Hahn and gave Park a hearty send-off.

"The Democratic Party congratulates Congressmember Janice Hahn on her election. From her years on the LA City Council to her time in Congress, she has been a champion for working families and has fought to create safer neighborhoods. We look forward to working with her in her new role as Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor for District 4," the party said.

On Park's race, the party stated: 
"The Democratic Party thanks Darrell Park for fighting tooth and nail in his race to turn Los Angeles County District 5 blue.  It was an uphill challenge, and he never backed down from his commitment to the district or to his Democratic values.  We are confident he will continue to be an outspoken advocate for the betterment of our community."

In a Facebook Live video recorded at her election night party, Barger spoke confidently about her lead, telling supporters to mark their calendars for Dec. 5, when "we will be downtown, and we will be doing the swearing in. So please mark your calendars, because each and every one of you is invited."

If Hahn and Barger win their respective races, L.A. County could become the only board of supervisors in the state with a female supermajority.

The supervisor's seat is nonpartisan. But if Democrat Hahn prevails, the five-member board would be made up of four Democrats. Republicans have warned that this kind of supermajority would lessen the checks and balances on the panel.

Barger pulled ahead of her Democratic opponent in early returns for the District 5 seat, which represents northern L.A. County stretching from Santa Clarita to Covina and up to Lancaster.

The winner of that contest will succeed Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who is being termed out.

In the race for the District 4 seat, Hahn is seeking to win a post once held by her father, Kenneth Hahn, a longtime supervisor whose name is on the building where supervisors meet. District 4 covers a wide U-shaped area that runs from Marina del Rey to Long Beach and out to Cerritos and Diamond Bar.

Hahn and Republican Steve Napolitano, a former Manhattan Beach mayor and aide to Supervisor Don Knabe, had a particularly hard-fought campaign. Knabe, who currently represents the district, is serving his last term.

Whoever wins a seat on the Board of Supervisors will help control a roughly $30 billion annual budget and decide county policies and services covering jails, medical services, parks, homelessness, the sheriff's department and child protection.

Throughout the campaign, Barger stressed her experience working for the county as a chief aide to Antonovich. Park, a former White House analyst, said he represented a change from business as usual.

In the closing days of the election, both Napolitano and Hahn turned to negative campaigning.

Napolitano called for a county ethics commission to oversee campaign fundraising, following a Los Angeles Times investigation into fundraising by elected officials. The newspaper cited $200,000-plus in donations to Hahn from contributors with connections to a Torrance-based real estate developer. According to the Times, Hahn wrote a letter favorable to the Sea Breeze development while on the Los Angeles City Council.

Napolitano said Hahn has received "highly questionable campaign contributions," including those for the supervisor's race.

In a statement and TV ad, Hahn's campaign called Napolitano a multi-millionaire "slumlord" based on his rental properties and claimed he tried to buy a seat on the Board of Supervisors by contributing over $2 million of his own money to his campaign.

This story has been updated.

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