WatchSonoma Watch

Huffman a shoo-in if runoff challenger a Republican


Is Assemblyman Jared Huffman the next congressman from the North Coast?

The San Rafael Democrat’s path to Capitol Hill is clear if Republican Dan Roberts holds onto second place and gets into November’s runoff against Huffman, who finished first in Tuesday’s primary election.

Congressional candidate Jared Huffman chats on his phone during his election night party at the Heritage House on the Dominican University campus in San Rafael on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Huffman is running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Lynn Woolsey. (IJ photo/Alan Dep)

Huffman and seven other Democrats competing to replace Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, collectively received 75 percent of the vote, and experts say Huffman, who had 37.3 percent himself, would have little trouble consolidating the Democratic vote in November and winning election to Congress.

Huffman is “a mainstream North Coast California environmental Democrat — period,” said Andy Merrifield, a Sonoma State University professor of political science.

But it’s a different story if Norman Solomon overtakes Roberts as tens of thousands of uncounted votes — mostly absentee ballots turned in at the polls Tuesday — are tallied over the next four weeks.

For now, Solomon is in third place, 1,379 votes behind Roberts out of a total of 37,893 votes cast for the two men.

Solomon’s political consultant, Tom Higgins, estimated there are 30,000 to 50,000 uncounted votes in the 2nd Congressional District: 22,000 in Marin County and the rest divided up among Sonoma County and the other four counties in the district.

Solomon, a well-known liberal author and activist who jumped into elective politics this year, said Wednesday he has a chance to catch up.

“The trend line is very positive for our campaign,” he said, noting he gained ground on Roberts as results were reported Tuesday night.

Dan Roberts.

Roberts, a Tiburon securities broker and a political newcomer, disagreed.

“If we split the difference (among the uncounted votes), the gap remains the same,” he said.

Merrifield said the outcome is “too close to call” but Roberts “should be sleeping better than Solomon” until the tally is final.

Absentee voters used to be more conservative than Election Day voters, but now the two groups are indistinguishable, Merrifield said.

Huffman’s 22-percentage point margin over Roberts started with his dominance in Marin County, where the three-term assemblyman received 47.2 percent of the votes and Solomon was second with 14 percent.

Huffman also won in Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt counties, while Roberts was first in tiny Trinity and Del Norte counties, where Republicans and Democrats are virtually tied in voter registration. Democrats dominate by a better than 2-to-1 average in the other four counties combined.

Roberts got the better of Solomon in a clear north-south divide in the district, which grows more conservative as you go north up Highway 101.

Solomon bested Roberts by a combined 1,693 votes in Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino, finishing second in all three counties, which hold three-fourths of the district’s voters.

Roberts more than made up the difference in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties, beating Solomon by a combined 3,072 votes.

Norman Solomon.

Huffman rates Marin and Sonoma as the district’s liberal anchor, with Mendocino a mixture of conservative and liberal currents and “not a lot of middle ground.”

Roberts said he spent a “substantial” amount on TV ads in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, both served by Eureka stations.

“It paid off,” he said.

Roberts also benefitted from the simple math of eight Democrats dividing their vote, while he and Mike Halliwell of Cotati, who got 6 percent, were the only Republicans.

Democrat Stacey Lawson, a San Rafael businesswoman who raised more than $900,000 but started with zero name recognition, wound up fourth with 10.1 percent.

“She clearly did not catch fire,” Merrifield said.

Susan Adams, a Marin County supervisor, had 8.4 percent and the other four Democrats less than 2 percent apiece.

(You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.)

11 Responses to “Huffman a shoo-in if runoff challenger a Republican”

  1. truth in news says:

    Gee, there are still some people working for a living along with a few businesses hanging on. Lets put ANOTHER democrat in office and see if we can further drive the state into the mud!

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  2. Western Cluebird says:

    On April 8, 2011,speaking at the Santa Rosa J.C.about the budget cuts and their impact on public education, Jared Huffman said “Why are we here and why does this feel like Deja Vu?” and “If there is a spending problem, I wish I could be a part of it”.
    Then he said “As we dealt with this crisis, we havn’t been entirely honest. We’ve used temporary borrowing, shifting and gimmicks. An 18 billion deficit was advertised as ballanced when actually it was about 7 billion short.”
    It is a 26 billion dollar crisis now.
    Then he went on to blame republicans.

    Sounds like a Woolsey replacement to me.
    If he were a financial advisor he would no doubt be in jail.

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  3. Jim says:


    I actually agree with you on a couple points. Yes, the Republicans are borrow and spend. However, the Democrats are EXACTLY THE SAME. BOTH parties waste trillions in taxpayer money. Neither party does anything that helps out the people who voted for them. Our political system consists mainly of people voting AGAINST someone, not people voting FOR someone. Politicians don’t need to have any principles, they just have to convince voters that their opponent is bad.

    The argument for tax cuts is this…why is it believed that the government spends my earned dollar better than me? Why is someone who didn’t work hard, didn’t go to college, to grad school, get a specialized certification, etc entitled to the money I earned through years of sacrifice?

    In school, I work hard and earn an 80 on an exam while a classmate who doesn’t put in the hours or the effort earns a 60. If school administration takes 10 points from me and gives them to my classmate we’d both have passing 70′s. Does this seem right?

    In life, if I work hard, networking, selling my knowledge, skills and education, earning $250,000/year, while the guy in the next office does nothing and earns $50,000, why should I be penalized? What if I passed on having kids, the fancy car, the large house and saved $1,000,000 in my 401k, while he spent every dime he had (and then some, like the government), should I be forced to pay some sort of “millionaire’s tax”? I deferred spending to save but should be punished?? He wasted all his money and is now broke but should get MORE for nothing, from me who saved?? How does this make any sense?

    The vast, vast majority of “wealthy” people in America got there because of saving, through hard work. Read “The Millionaire Next Door”. Yet, the government brainwashes the voters into thinking that those who have wealth somehow cheated their way to it, somehow got there by lying, taking advantage of people, through privilege, etc. The media focuses on the super wealthy, on Hollywood stars, athletes, etc. These are exceptions. The FACT is, the vast majority of the politicians got there via lying, cheating and privilege.

    A large portion of tax revenue is spent on needless programs, redundant departments staffed by unnecessary employees and the purchase of votes so the politicians can remain in power. Do voters actually believe that the weasel they send to Sacramento or to Washington cares about them? Everything that is said by a politician is calculated. Look at Clinton’s recent statement. He said the “Bush” tax cuts (funny how they are STILL Bush’s) should be extended. Then, through pressure from Washington in an election year, he retracts his statement, spinning it into gibberish.

    I can’t believe people actually believe that government is the answer to anything.

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  4. Great Ideas says:

    To the bird

    You put your finger on the truth when you stated you were clueless. You and your feathered union friends are clueless when discussing President Bush and the Republicans.

    The good news is that what happened in Wisconsin to SEIU and the teachers union will be falling on the public unions in California within a short time. So, injoy your cushy pension plan and over paid public job for now.

    Common sense has taken root and will spread even to this little outpost of socialistic nirvana.

    Allen and Huffman cannot stop the new political wave that will wash over the US in November.

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  5. Missy says:

    Mockingbird, wth are you talking about? You’re losing it. This county & this state are run by your buds – the Tax & Spend Dems who raise our taxes (we’re almost at 10% in sales tax), some of the highest property taxes in the nation (while our family pays almost $7k, some of my friends in other states are paying $90 a year for property taxes), California’s Business Property Tax – a YEARLY tax on the property that businesses own, large & small biz pays this; high state taxes.

    Yes this is all from the Dems.

    The following information is from Wikipedia

    There are NO Republicans serving in the statewide offices. NONE.

    There 2 R’s out of 5 on the Board of Equalization.

    State Senate
    Republicans are in the minority, holding 15 of the 40 seats in the State Senate. Republicans have been the minority party in the Senate since 1956.

    State Assembly
    Republicans hold 27 of the 80 seats in the State Assembly[9]. The last time the Republicans were the majority party in the Assembly was from 1994-1996.

    Mayoral offices
    Of California’s ten largest cities, three have Republican mayors in 2011

    U.S. House of Representatives
    Out of the 53 seats California is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, 19 are held by Republicans

    U.S. Senate
    None. Both of California U.S. Senate seats have held by Democrats since 1992

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  6. GAJ says:

    Mockingbird, none other than that far right nut Bill Clinton wants the tax breaks extended.

    I disagree with him but so much for your left/right rant.

    We can both agree, I’m sure, that California is far from a shining example of what the left can do when it controls a State for nie on 60 years.

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  7. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Yes, you posters. All we need is some more borrow and spend Republicans like Bush to run up the deficit with 2 unfunded, not listed on budget wars (only listed on the Budget when Obama took office-so the deficit was HIGHER than it looked under Bush), and more tax breaks for the super rich instead of small and moderate businesses who can really use breaks. None of those tax breaks the rich got under Bush CREATED JOBS, but that lie continues.

    No one can accuse the Republicans of being fiscal conservatives. As for small government-yeah, right. Let’s implement more laws controlling social behavior and start snooping in people’s bedrooms. Let’s combine religion and government so we can be as disfunctional and violent as the middle east fighting against each other because our “god” says so.

    When you vote for Republicans THIS IS WHAT YOU GET. Not small government, but MORE government. Not fiscal conservatism, but profligate spending that doesn’t benefit the people who need it but only benefits those that already have most of the wealth already. We get crumbling infrastructure and our public schools’ funding is cut.

    I imagine that not one of the posters on this site is of the 1% so I am clueless as to why they speak like they are and why they support those that want to take away the rights of most citizens. Why would anyone support the buying of our elections by the super rich is beyond me. Why anyone would want their rights taken away by a small minority of super rich MULTINATIONAL corporations (they aren’t even AMERICAN corporations anymore) is astonishing.

    Moderate, intelligent Republican candidates have disappeared and all we have left are far right fanatics who will only do this nation harm.

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  8. Over Easy says:

    Either candidate will be far better than what we currently have.

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  9. JDAWG says:

    Liberal candidates, Liberal voters, Liberal agenda…wonder why we are bankrupt?

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9

  10. Kirstin says:

    You mean “shoo-in,” right? ;)

    Yes, we’ll see what the absentee ballots reveal. My fingers are crossed for Dan Roberts continuing to hold 2nd place and running against Huffman in November. Sure, Roberts is the underdog, but so would Solomon.

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