Washington (CNN) – Democratic California Congresswoman Jane Harman said Tuesday the cost of a special election, forced by her resignation from Congress, will likely be "minimal." But despite her call to fill her seat as "quickly as possible," her abrupt resignation will likely result in her constituents being unrepresented for months.
Harman announced she would resign her seat in Congress in order to accept an appointment as the head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center beginning on February 28 at a news conference on Tuesday. She was sworn in to her ninth term representing the 37th district of California last month.
In an interview on CNN's "John King, USA," at 7 p.m. E.T. Tuesday, Harman revealed the possibility that the special election to fill her seat may be folded into a ballot already planned for this summer, leaving the seat unfilled for a minimum of several months. When Rep. Hilda Solis was nominated by President Obama to become labor secretary in 2009, a special election held to fill her seat cost about $1.5 million, according to the Los Angeles Country registrar.
Harman told Chief National Correspondent John King that California Gov. Jerry Brown has "some real latitude" to plan the special election and acknowledged the severe budget woes faced by the state.
"He is planning, so I understand, to hold a special election this summer on extending some tax provisions for the state, which is in dire straits, and this election could be part of that ballot. That would save a lot of money…if there is an outright winner in the race that is on the same ballot as Governor Brown's tax issue then the race is over," she said.
Expressing hopes that the process will be as quick and painless as possible, Harman continued, " The seat will be filled, and I think the cost to taxpayers will be minimal. I hope that is what happens, I think the seat needs to be filled as quickly as possible."
Harman won re-election last fall after what she called a "a very big victory." In the interview, Harman said her 36th district residents were not far from her mind when weighing the decision to join the Woodrow Wilson Center.
"I hesitated quite a bit because of my commitment to my constituents, to my excellent staff and to my colleagues here. But I ultimately decided that after 17 years in Congress, and these years are like dog years…having done my best both in majority and minority circumstances, that a new challenge is something I couldn't refuse," she said.
Every day we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation inside and outside Washington.
Happy Wednesday. Tonight we will air some of an exclusive CNN conversation with Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who, like it or not, has become the face of the Egyptian pro-democracy forces. Among the things Ghonim told CNN’s Ivan Watson: “I don’t agree with (the) Muslim Brotherhood movement. I don’t agree with their ideologies. But whoever these are they are Egyptians. These are good Egyptians. They participated. I would say 10 percent to 15 percent of the people (who) are there. They are just like Egyptians, they are honest and nice. They are not as bad and evil as they are trying to tell us.” Here at home, President Obama is having lunch with the top three House Republicans, part of the post-election “getting to know you” effort. Every ounce of understanding, and goodwill if any can be generated, will come in handy as we head into major debates over spending cuts and keeping the government running. On to today’s observations from Erick and Jane: Jane sees great irony comparing the administration’s requests for Egypt to end its emergency laws while asking Congress to extend some of the new powers created in the US after 9/11. Erick’s first two highlight seething internal GOP tensions on the eve of the annual CPAC gathering. As you can see, some of this divide is about issues – gay rights among them – and some is just plain personal. Enjoy your day. – John King
RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:
– CPAC is coming. Look for more talk about GOProud, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Grover Norquist.
– Speaking of Grover Norquist, he is calling noted conservatives and conservative groups like Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation "losers" for sitting out CPAC. Jack Abramoff's pay to plaything might not want to call others losers.
– A new Baylor poll suggests the typical narrative about evangelicals is wrong. Younger evangelicals are actually turning more conservative than their parents.
Firedoglake.com Blogger/Founder Jane Hamsher: