County Board of Supervisors candidates Janice Hahn, left, and Kathryn Barger, right. (Los Angeles Times)

Adam Elmahrek and Hailey Branson-Potts
November 9, 2016

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.

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.

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