WatchSonoma Watch

Solomon concedes North Coast congressional race


Republican Dan Roberts emerged Tuesday as the second-place winner in the North Coast congressional race, edging Democrat Norman Solomon by 173 votes and earning a place in the November runoff.

The outcome had remained uncertain three weeks after the June 5 primary, largely due to a slow vote tally in Sonoma County.

Norman Solomon (PD FILE, 2012)

The gap between Roberts and Solomon, 760 votes at the end of last week with more than 25,000 local votes uncounted, narrowed – but not enough for Solomon to take the lead.

The other five counties in the 2nd Congressional District completed their vote counts last week.

Sonoma County elections officials said Tuesday that fewer than 300 votes were uncounted and the results — although still unofficial — were unlikely to change.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, was first overall with 63,894 votes, followed by Roberts with 25,624 and Solomon with 25,451.

Solomon, an author/activist from Inverness, called Roberts on Tuesday to congratulate him.

“He was very gracious,” said Roberts, a Tiburon securities broker. “He told me I could open the champagne.”

Both men were political newcomers vying to replace Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who is retiring after 20 years in Congress.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, the only legislative incumbent in the field of 12 candidates, finished first with 37.6 percent of the primary vote and is a strong favorite to beat Roberts in the November general election.

Democrats account for nearly 50 percent of the district’s registered voters, compared with 22.5 percent for Republicans and 21.6 percent for independents.

“It’s a bit of a reach,” Roberts said. “The math will tell you I can’t win with just Republicans and independents alone. I need 3 to 5 percent of the Democrats to come my way.”

Roberts said he already has made overtures to unnamed Democrats to join a multi-party coalition like the one that supported former Marin Assemblyman Bill Filante.

Filante, a Republican, beat Democrats in the Marin-Sonoma Assembly district seven times from 1978-90, but lost to Woolsey in the 1992 congressional race as a fatal brain tumor kept him from campaigning.

Roberts, who loaned his primary campaign $160,000, said he will be at a financial disadvantage against Huffman, who raised more than $1 million.

Noting that Huffman ran largely on his record of legislative achievements in Sacramento, Roberts said he, too, will run on Huffman’s record.

“It’s not a one-sided story,” he said.

Roberts said he will take a break in July and resume campaigning in August by putting up the same signs and banners his allies have taken down since June 5.

“I got in this to win, not finish second in June,” he said.

Solomon expressed thanks to his campaign volunteers and more than 7,000 donors.

“I’m certain the political energies that galvanized and fueled our campaign will strengthen future movements for social change,” he said in a statement.

18 Responses to “Solomon concedes North Coast congressional race”

  1. @Western Cluebird. I find your account of that SRJC discussion misleading. What Mr. Huffmann said was that his tenure in office has been dominated by budget cuts and not spending sprees. Furthermore, he and other panelists blamed Republicans for the fact that the budget crisis has been dominated by cuts rather than a mixture of cuts and taxes. He pointed out that the state’s constitution allows the minority party to prevent us from having this mixed solution to our budget crisis, forcing us to balance the budget through cuts (and borrowing). If you disagree with him that this is a bad thing, you don’t need to misrepresent Mr. Huffmann’s statements. Simply make a case that the Republicans’ refusal is not blameworthy.

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  2. Red Dog says:

    California is broke, has borrowed billions to pay for the operating budget, yet voters for more of the same.

    But maybe we can be optimistic this year that voters will act like grown ups who balance their budgets or sleep on the street.

    Maybe they will look at Robert’s accomplishments in business, as a single father, and as a Marine officer who was in combat and see the country does not have to continue down the road to tax and spend. Let us hope Huffman does not beat Roberts.

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  3. Canthisbe says:

    “Unemployment rates rose in more than two-thirds of U.S. cities last month, evidence that the slowdown in hiring in May was felt nationwide.
    Here are the cities with the highest and lowest unemployment rates last month:
    Best and Worst Metro areas
    Figures are in percentages
    Highest unemployment rates May 2012
    Yuma, Ariz. 28.9
    El Centro, Calif. 26.8
    Yuba City, Calif. 17.9
    Merced, Calif. 17.3
    Modesto, Calif. 15.6
    Fresno, Calif. 14.9
    Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 14.8
    Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 14.7
    Stockton, Calif 14.5
    Madera-Chowchilla, Calif. 14.3″


    Maybe we should try something different?

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  4. 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 as the entire panel did repeatedly.

    Is this the kind of fiscal game playing that we need? If you would rather vote for someone with this level of credibility than anyone that has an R after their name, then your laughter is that of a fool.
    The S.S. California is sinking- let’s try something other than failed “gimmicks” and partisanship.

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  5. Missy says:

    I’m hoping Roberts wins. That said remember the whole Jim Judd thing? Lots of people on the PD said they would vote for him and he got creamed. I’m not holding my breath but still. IMHO Huffman is better than crazy welfare queen Woolsey.

    Lynn C Woolsey DEM 95,459 63.5%
    Jim Judd REP 47,232 31.4%


    I’m hoping we can increase that percentage but…here’s the hard facts from the last election:

    Barack Obama 63,123 97.4%
    Write-in candidate(s) 1,655 2.6%

    so that is 25k less D’s than the 2010 election.

    Mitt Romney 20,593

    So that is a 3 to 1 advantage in an off year election

    OTOH, in 2010 we have these results, which is actually more like a 2-1

    Jerry Brown DEM 119,079 64.6%
    Meg Whitman REP 55,472 30.1%

    It does remain to be seen. Unfortunately, the voters of almost the entire Bay Area & coastal communities love the D’s.

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  6. R.B.Fish says:

    Congratulations to Dan Roberts! This could be the turning point in the north coast. Huffman wants to be President or Governor and not interested in serving a district. He goes with the Demo machine. Apathetic voters, mostly Democratic, are starting to be concerned that the liberal machine is a failure. It’s failing them and their quality of life. It’s devastating for their children and grandchildren. Public unions and illegal immigration are destroying a once great place to live. Union are a dying breed and people are not willing to pay exorbitant taxes for the exorbitant lifestyle and lifelong benefits for public union employees. Paying much much more for much much less. Roberts needs to further educate its independent base and apathetic Democratic who are slowly realizing their ignorance of Obama and Holder are on the fast train downhill. Obama will start a war by October to stay in the game but the north coast has had enough with Democratic drivel. All north coast politicians have not delivered what they have promised.

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  7. Michael Sheehan says:

    Albert Einstein pointed out that “We cannot solve problems using the same kind of thinking used when creating them.”

    The problem with most of these political hacks is that they create problems, but cannot solve anything. Their only tactic is to raise taxes, not actually deal with the issues at hand in a meaningful and lasting way. Huffman or any other tax and spend candidate will produce more of the same.

    I shake my head when I see people defending the irresponsible spending, ridiculous public pensions for management, and government waste and corruption. I guess they either benefit from it or are blind to reality.

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  8. Skippy says:

    Sonoma Co’s descent into irrelevance picks up speed.
    Huffman et al can preside over the total collapse of the State and Fed Big Govt house of cards and still get their gold-plated retirement.
    Ca. reminds me of the police video of the car-chase subject shooting one more syringe of heroin into his arm as the police wrestle him from his vehicle.
    California: adios.

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  9. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    I have to laugh at the rightwing hopefuls here. As someone who voted for Soloman after a long and hard decision debate in my head, I WILL vote for Huffman. All of the real liberals who voted for Soloman will vote for Huffman in the November election. It’s a sure bet on my part since Roberts isn’t a choice for them.

    Besides, Huffman isn’t that liberal. He’s a MODERATE. Remember moderates-both Democratic AND REPUBLICAN? We don’t seem to have any Republican moderates anymore. When I start waxing nostalgic about Nixon, Bush SR and Ford, the country has definitely gone to hell. It’s to the point of CRAZY. I want real political middle back not centrist middle. I want Democrats and Republicans to WORK TOGETHER for reasonable middle of the road solutions. I want the majority is legislature to be MODERATE. I want Republicans who aren’t crazy, are thoughtful and haven’t signed Norquist’s pledge not to do their jobs which is treasonous in my view since it negates their oaths of office.

    In short, I want all those elected TO DO their jobs cooperatively to find a middle HEALTHY ground for the country AND THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS (not just the richest 1% of them).

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  10. Jean Anderson says:

    Not a Clue is right. The brain-washed North Bay libs will vote for anyone with a D behind his or her name (the awful Woolsey being a prime example).

    Stupid is as stupid does. This area went over to the dark side years ago.

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  11. Reality Check says:

    Huffman will get 60% in November, minimum. Look at the map. When did these counties last elect a Republican, and in this case an underfunded one?

    As I said, a yellow dog with a D next to its name could be elected in the 2d district.

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  12. Camino Alto says:

    Not so fast.

    There are a lot of Democrats who aren’t fans of Huffman. I am one and I will vote for anybody but him. Like David J Spencer here said: “63% of the electorate voted AGAINST him (Huffman).”

    If Roberts can get the Republican support that went to Huffman (and it was a pretty significant amount) he will have a very good shot here.

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  13. Not A Chance says:

    @ Kristan and David


    Oh man, seriously? I will bet you a million dollars that Roberts gets annihilated by Huffman in November. We’re talking double digits people. Roberts has no money and Huffman spent virtually nothing in the Primary and raised more than a million in the process.

    a classic line right here: “63% of the electorate voted AGAINST him” and about 20 total percent of that vote was Republican, the rest was Democrat, this is beyond wishful thinking. Delusional even.

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  14. Thank you vote splitters says:

    Special thanks to all the additional “progressives” who had no real chance and just sent Huffman to Congress, rather than someone who is far closer to their core. Disgusting. When will people, ok, more specifically, progressive democrats, realize that by endlessly splitting votes among themselves, they just ruined any opportunity to challenge Huffman, who will now have zero incentive to consider their voices because they didn’t speak in unison. Instead, the rag tag clan of Renee, Caffrey, Courtney, etc. just undermined their own interests by ceding the race to Huffman and allowing Roberts to move to second. 176 voters who wasted their ballots could have voted for Solomon and had their voices far better represented. Too many egos with more ambition than talent and now we’ll have Huffman…unless progressives fail to vote and cede this to Roberts. Not likely, I know, but unless Huffman makes some positive efforts to reach out to a sizable electorate who voted for Solomon or the other non-Republican candidates, he could end up with a real fight on his hands.

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  15. Reality Check says:

    One of the pleasures of voting in this region of California is that it doesn’t matter. The Democrat wins. A yellow dog with a D next to its name would win. No need to waste much time thinking about each candidate.

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  16. David J. Spencer says:

    I strongly second Kirstin’s motion.

    Jared Huffman received something like 37% of the vote in the last election, which means that 63% of the electorate voted AGAINST him.

    That’s a LOT of wiggle room, and I truly believe that if Mr. Roberts follows Kirstin’s astute advice he’ll have an excellent chance of walking the Halls of Congress.

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  17. Vinyl Rules says:

    Well this news made Huffman’s day. Huffman could go to Hawaii for the next 4 months and still win handily. This district has a 2-to-1 Democratic vs Republican voter advantage. Huffman could hold that seat for decades.

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  18. Kirstin says:

    Congratulations to Dan Roberts.

    Now, please, Mr. Roberts, give Jared Huffman a REAL contest. Speak up and out often. Show the voters who don’t pay that much attention that there really is a choice and they don’t have to settle for a politician with the biggest war chest who will give them more of the same policies if sent to Washington D.C. Show the voters it is time for a new approach and be the man who can provide that.

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