The first wide-open race for a North Coast seat in Congress in 20 years has drawn a crowd of a dozen candidates, elections officials said.

There will be eight Democrats, two Republicans and two no party preference candidates on the June 5 primary election ballot in the new 2nd Congressional District.

And for the first time in state history, all voters will receive a ballot with all of the candidates in every partisan race, except for president and county central committee, and the top two vote-getters will move on to November's general election.

The top two, open primary election system was approved by state voters in 2010.

It replaces a system in which primary voting was by partisan ballots and the top vote-getter in each qualified political party moved on to the general election.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey's retirement this year, after the Petaluma Democrat's 20 years in office, set the stage for a free-for-all in the new coastal district, which stretches from Marin County to the Oregon border, excluding Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati and Sonoma Valley.

The competing Democrats are:

Susan Adams, Marin County supervisor, San Rafael; Andy Caffrey, activist, Redway in Humboldt County; William Courtney, physician, Mendocino; Larry Fritzlan, therapist, Mill Valley; Jared Huffman, state assemblyman, San Rafael; Stacey Lawson, educator and businesswoman, San Rafael; Tiffany Renee, Petaluma city councilwoman; and Norman Solomon, activist, Point Reyes Station.

The Republicans are:

Michael Halliwell, retired college professor, Cotati; and Daniel Roberts, securities broker, Mill Valley.

No party preference candidates:

Brooke Clarke, business owner, Ukiah; and John Lewallen, business owner, Philo.

Vote by mail ballots will be sent out in early May.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or