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Democrats Allen, Levine ready for intra-party Assembly showdown


A seven-candidate primary behind them, Democrats Michael Allen and Marc Levine now shift their focus to each other for what promises to be an expensive and bruising intra-party runoff in November for the 10th Assembly seat.

Tuesday’s top-two primary set up the showdown between Democratic candidates with Allen finishing atop the field with 30 percent of the vote and Levine second with 24 percent.

Michael Allen, Marc Levine (COURTESY PHOTOS)

On the heels of strong messages sent by voters in San Jose and San Diego Tuesday to cut public workers’ benefits and overhaul the public pension systems, that issue could loom over fall election.

Levine, a San Rafael city councilman since 2009, has shown some success reaching concessions from Marin County workers and Allen is on a state committee working to bring forward a public-pension overhaul plan this summer.

Allen, who owns a home in Santa Rosa’s Oakmont neighborhood, was elected in 2010 to represent the 7th Assembly District, which was redrawn during redistricting last year. He rented an apartment in San Rafael to run for the 10th District.

Levine said he will continue to challenge Allen’s financial backing from the Sacramento Democratic establishment and big labor unions. Allen has raised about $600,000 in the campaign and another $170,000 was spent in his support from independent committees.

“Allen spent $800,000 to buy this election and he only got 30 percent of the vote,” Levine said. “I had only $135,000 at my disposal, and we still kept this a close race.”

Allen said he will spend the next few weeks in Sacramento working to pass a state budget on time and to produce a pension report by July or August. Then he will continue reaching out to Marin County voters.

“People can judge for themselves on the results,” he said. “They can judge me on my performance, collaborating with Democrats and Republicans in Sacramento.”

The newly drawn 10th District comprises all of Marin County, part of Santa Rosa and portions of western and southern Sonoma County.

The results in the two counties showed a dramatic difference in voter preference. In Sonoma County, Allen finished first with 33 percent of the vote, compared to 17 percent for Levine. But in Marin County, Levine pulled in 30 percent, with Allen trailing at 28 percent.

For November, Allen and Levine have to figure out how to win voters who didn’t vote during the primary and sway the 46 percent of voters – including thousands of Republicans and independents – who cast votes for the other five candidates, said Sonoma State University politics professor David McCuan.

“Marc has to grow out of San Rafael and Marin, and Michael has to be more than just a Sonoma County labor candidate,” he said. “The race becomes a classic insider vs. outsider matchup, the Sacramento guy vs. the young upstart. That makes many Democrats uncomfortable.”

Levine characterized the November election as a “referendum on Sacramento and the direction we need to take state government.”

“People are fed up with dysfunctional state politics, exemplified by the Sacramento power-play in this district,” he said. Most of Allen’s financial backing has come from Sacramento and large portions from in-kind assistance from the state Democratic Party.

Allen said he is “mystified” that Levine paints himself as a local, when he has lived in Marin County for less than a decade and represents fewer Marin voters than Allen currently does in the 7th Assembly District. Allen has lived and worked in the North Bay for more than three decades.

“(Levine’s) message has been negative and divisive from day one,” Allen said. “That’s not how you get things done, in your hometown, the district or Sacramento. People will figure out that message is not on point.”

11 Responses to “Democrats Allen, Levine ready for intra-party Assembly showdown”

  1. Juvenal says:

    What would Levine do if elected, outlaw Michael Allen? Levine needs to get himself a pair of big boy pants.

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  2. Taxpayer says:

    Anybody but allen.

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  3. Eric Newman says:

    Michael Allen will win this race because he is committed to working on real issues that will improve the lives of working people. He is a man of substance who is in office to serve the common good, not just to be be important.

    Every time I hear Michael Allen talk, he is coming up with innovative public policy ideas, strengthening the social safety net, protecting worker’s rights, investigating potential collaborations with community groups to create jobs and opportunities for young people, improve training programs, reforming pension systems, seeking ways to make government work efficiently, protecting the environment through smart growth and transit-oriented development.

    All I ever hear from Levine is a few trite talking points and attack lines against Allen. He’s a lightweight who’s not even in the same league as a public official. Allen’s the real deal.

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  4. Great Ideas says:

    Allen represents the interest group, the public unions, that have brought us the insane public pension deficits, outrageous public wages and elected politicians dominated by public unions in California.

    He has not earned our vote and he certainly has not earned another trip to the Assembly.

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  5. Rome is Burning says:

    Follow the money: 96% of Allen’s money comes from big labor. Bie Labor bosses who do not want to see public pension reformed like Allen. If you want “business as usual” in Sacto, Allen is your guy. I want change, progress, and to free up our electeds from being owned by the union bosses. II will vote for Levine.

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  6. Grapevines says:

    Sad that the Press Democrat is pushing us to vote for the “Weasel of our choice”

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  7. Camino Alto says:

    So sad to have to make a choice of voting for who you despise the least. This liberal Democrat won’t vote for either of these two clowns come November.

    This will make three terrible State Assemblymen in a row for us.

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  8. Waiting says:

    As usual, until Michael Allen shows he is really doing something to fix the pension problem, and not just talk about it but makes REAL headway, he will never have the 4 votes from this household. He is glued to the hip with Lisa Maldonado/NBLC. Consequently, I seriously doubt it will ever happen.

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  9. Bob Andronice says:

    Allen is leagues ahead of Marc Levine in terms of experience, intelligence and ability. Michael Allen has a lifetime of work and experience as a Nurse as a Lawyer and as a Legislator. All Marc Levine has is talking points against Michael Allen. He seems to have no fresh ideas or campaign other than attacking Michael Allen for moving to Marin. And even that is hypocritical because Levine has only lived in Marin himself for 6 years.

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  10. GAJ says:

    Michael Allens “ideas” were a huge part of the pension fiasco we now find in this County.

    His support of boosting pensions by 50% in the early 2000′s, and grandfathering that in for all existing employees was beyond ridiculous.

    The fact that he now touts his pension “reform” ideas as one of his strengths is preposterous.

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  11. Bruce Slaughter says:

    Assemblyman Allen is right. I have watched this race and the most striking thing about it is how Assemblyman Allen talks about jobs,education bills he has passed and his work on the Governor’s pension committee (including his advocacy of a pension cap and a ban on spiking of pensions) etc. All Mark Levine talks about is Michael Allen. I assume this appeal to those who hate Sacramento is supposed to compensate for Mr Levine’s lack of experience but it won’t compensate for his lack of ideas. Marin/Sonoma voters are more sophisticated and they want someone who actually works for something, not someone who just rails against something. My vote and my money is going to Michael Allen.

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