North Bay Assembly race pits four Democrats against each other – Marin Independent Journal
In recent columns, I wrote about two of North Bay’s three partisan races that voters face in the first round of the June 7 primary election. The third is for the Marin-Sonoma 12th District State Assembly position.
Incumbent Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, is forgoing a safe re-election bid to run instead for California Insurance Commissioner against fellow incumbent Democrat Ricardo Lara.
There are four Assembly candidates, all Democrats. They include California Coast Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh of Kentfield, Marin Supervisor Damon Connolly (who will not run for re-election from the San Rafael-centric First District), Sausalito Marin City School Board President Ida Times-Green and Steve Schwartz of Sebastopol, founder of the Sonoma County Sustainable Food Interfaith Collaboration.
I met in person or via Zoom with the four Assembly candidates. It is refreshing to report that all are well qualified. They are all traditional North Bay Democrats with little to differentiate them on political issues.
The differences between the candidates relate more to political and personal experience, competing priorities, political style and emphasis. Whoever is elected will raise the collective IQ and ethical standard of the Legislative Assembly.
Since the Assembly race falls under the Golden State’s first-two electoral system, the June primary will determine which two of the four candidates face off in November.
A key factor is name recognition. It’s a campaign management axiom that voters base much of their choice on party identification and whether they know the candidate’s name. In the 12th Assembly District, partisanship is irrelevant because all candidates are Democrats.
Without recognizing a candidate, it is impossible to associate him with at least one issue, which is the essential first step in obtaining votes. None of the four have district-wide name recognition. At best, they are known in their own communities. Even Connolly, arguably the best known, is little known outside of San Rafael and among those who follow civic affairs.
With the primary only seven weeks away and mail-in ballots being mailed to all voters on May 10, there isn’t much time to get the name of the candidate out to the electorate. , and then to communicate a positive issue that each candidate wants to be associated with.
The oddity of this partisan election is that there is no Republican candidate.
A GOP hopeful in politically “deep blue” Marin and Sonoma is a long shot. Yet in the recent past, Republicans have managed to recruit someone to hold their elephant banner and communicate the party’s message, no matter how long the odds last. That’s not the case in 2022, at least in North Bay’s election for the California Lower House.
The two-party system only works when both major parties make an effort to be competitive. They do this by recruiting attractive candidates within the local political and socio-economic culture. One cannot credibly complain about a one-party dominated California unless both parties make realistic efforts to recruit candidates and promote broadly popular issues.
A big, urban-focused Democratic government running in rural North Dakota is as delirious as a Donald Trump-backed populist candidate competing in mostly upper-middle-class, well-educated suburbs like Marin. Both parties have a duty to lead women and men who identify with and appeal to local voters.
Until Marin’s Republicans learn this basic lesson, they will remain politically irrelevant.
The Marin Citizens for Sustainable Taxpayers group will host online candidate forums for both Marin County Supervisory Elections in the June primary. I will moderate both sessions.
The first forum is scheduled for Thursday from 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. It’s dedicated to the first supervisory district centered on San Rafael, where Gina Daly, Mark Sackett and George Saribalis are vying to succeed incumbent Damon Connolly.
Daly and Sacket agreed to answer participants’ questions online. Saribalis says he is “unable to attend”. Register by going to the registration page on the COST website at bit.ly/3vjGjb7.