By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
State Democratic Party regional delegates who met in Santa Rosa Saturday could not agree on which candidate to endorse to succeed outgoing Rep. Lynn Woolsey.
That means no candidate in the 2nd Congressional District primary race will benefit from mailers and other advertising paid for by the state party.
Delegates who supported candidates other than money-raising and endorsement leader, Assemblyman Jared Huffman of an Rafael, characterized the non-decision as a victory for both voters and the trailing contenders.
“In the primary in June, the people … will get to decide who advances, the Democratic party will not have a say in that,” said Alice Chan of Sebastopol, a delegate who cast her vote for Marin activist and author Norman Solomon.
Huffman, who is seen as the Democratic establishment candidate, collected 48 percent of the delegate votes, shy of the 50 percent he needed to win the endorsement.
Solomon, who has positioned himself as Woolsey’s ideological successor, gathered 28 percent of the delegates.
Of the race’s 11 candidates, only four earned votes at Saturday’s meeting at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall.
Besides Huffman and Solomon, they were San Rafael businesswoman Stacey Lawson, a late entry with no political background, and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams.
She got 9 percent of Saturday’s vote, and Lawson 1 percent.
Other delegates, who because of party structure and residence didn’t take part in the 2nd District endorsement vote, said the action may resonate more with party activists.
“It means a lot to us, but ultimately … it depends very much on the campaign and how the candidates are connecting with the voters,” said Caroline Banuelos, of Santa Rosa, a 5th District delegate.
“It makes any debates much more important for the next tier of candidates,” said Sonoma State University political scientist David McCuan.
It may also boost candidates who can now “point to the lack (of an endorsement) to indicate that they are still viable,” he said. “It allows them to raise some money that may still be sitting on the sideline.”