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Tea-party-backed candidate makes House race runoff

LOS ANGELES — Republican businessman Craig Huey on Thursday beat California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to finish second in a special congressional election and will square off against Los Angeles City Council member Janice Hahn in a July runoff.

Mr. Huey, a political newcomer with tea party backing, confounded expectations that the runoff after the open primary would be between Ms. Bowen and Ms. Hahn, both Democrats.

“While they were fighting it out, we were talking to the independents, the Democrats and the Republicans who are so upset about this economy,” Mr. Huey said. “The voters are getting it, even in California.”

The closely fought race is for the 36th District, which spans several beach communities in southern Los Angeles County. The seat was vacated when Mrs. Harman resigned in February to head the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington think tank.

With almost all votes tallied, Ms. Hahn had 24.6 percent of the vote, Mr. Huey had 22.2 percent and Ms. Bowen had 21 percent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports