Sweeping changes across the North Coast’s political landscape will present major challenges this election year both for voters and for candidates in state races, with one possible outcome being an almost entirely new and untested slate of leaders handling local problems in Sacramento.
Healdsburg City Councilman Jim Wood has virtually cornered endorsements from local Democratic leaders in his bid for the Assembly seat representing the North Coast.
Healdsburg City Councilman Jim Wood announced Friday that his campaign for the state Assembly seat representing the North Coast has been endorsed by the incumbent, 2nd District Assemblyman Wes Chesbro.
Wood’s early entry into the race and strong fundraising have already made him a frontrunner among several Democrats vying for the seat. Chesbro’s endorsement could bolster that status.
Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo has confirmed he is ‘seriously investigating’ a run for the state Assembly seat for the North Coast to be vacated next year by Wes Chesbro.
Carrillo would join two other local candidates, Jim Wood, the Healdsburg city councilman, and John Lowry, the former executive director of Burbank Housing in Santa Rosa, both of whom have said they are running for the Assembly seat. All three are Democrats.
Imagine a Republican county supervisor from Crescent City winning the North Coast seat in Congress and holding onto it for 20 years. That’s what happened when Don Clausen, a World War II veteran, won the 1962 election in a district that stretched — as it does now, with some variations — from Marin County to Oregon. But that area of rugged coastline and liberal-leaning voters now has no Republicans in Congress or the Legislature, nor does any GOP candidate have a shouting chance of success in today’s election.
Three North Coast lawmakers were included in an Associated Press analysis that revealed that state Assembly members made 5,000 vote changes or additions during this year’s legislative session. The practice, while legal, is decried by critics as a way for lawmakers to play politics with their votes or hide their true positions on the issues.
The eight-way race for Santa Rosa City Council took a surprise turn Monday when two candidates most political observers expected to be rivals endorsed each other and called for a return to political collaboration in the city.
The North Coast’s legislative delegation is in the unusual position of opposing Gov. Jerry Brown over his proposed budget cuts to California’s social safety net and to higher education. It’s not just that Brown and North Coast lawmakers are all Democrats. Brown’s proposed cuts also go to the heart of what Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, called the party’s ‘core values.’ In budget hearings held Tuesday, Democrats outlined their opposition to the governor’s proposed cuts to welfare-to-work, In-Home Supportive Services, child care and Cal Grant scholarships.
Voters favored incumbents in three state legislative races representing various parts of the North Coast. Final returns gave veteran lawmaker Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata, almost three times as many votes as Guerneville activist Tom Lynch in their race to represent the revamped 2nd Assembly District.