Endorsements cue voters in race for 1st District supervisor

If the campaign signs springing up around town are the most visible sign of the current election season, and the robo-calls and mailers its constant drumbeat, then the routine roll call of endorsements is the background noise.

While rarely revelatory, they are a signal to voters and thus a required part of any bid for public office, political experts say.

"It is incumbent that you have them," said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist. "Do they sway voters? No. But they point voters in a direction."

In announcing their latest endorsements last week, Susan Gorin and John Sawyer did some more pointing to voters.

The rival Santa Rosa City Council members are seeking the open 1st District seat representing Sonoma, Sonoma Valley and some of eastern Santa Rosa on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

On Tuesday, Gorin rolled out an endorsement from Shirlee Zane, the Board of Supervisors chairwoman and the only continuing supervisor to endorse so far. (Supervisor Valerie Brown, the retiring 1st District incumbent, backed Sawyer last month.)

Zane called Gorin an ally in support of robust county health and human service programs, smart fiscal oversight and environmental protection.

"I think Susan is much better equipped in terms of her background, beliefs and decision-making," Zane said in an interview. "I think she'll be bold."

Gorin said Zane's support showed the backing her campaign has among county leaders and in the community. "I know I will work very well with her," she said of Zane.

Sawyer, meanwhile, rolled out endorsements Friday from a trio of current and former Sonoma council members, including Mayor Joanne Sanders.

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