Mostly clear

Sawyer, Gorin turning focus to fall race

Hours after advancing to a runoff for an open seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Susan Gorin and John Sawyer, both buoyant and sleep-deprived Wednesday, were already charting their next moves.

Their showdown this fall could produce the swing vote on controversial land-use issues and factor heavily in decisions about economic development, pension system overhaul and spending on county services including road upkeep.

Gorin and Sawyer, rivals on the Santa Rosa City Council, said they expected the race to be hard-fought, with debate over their divergent voting records, dueling expenditures by outside interests and different visions for the future of the county.

"Any time you have a runoff, it becomes more divisive than a multiperson race," said Gorin.

The November election, with two sitting Santa Rosa council members vying for a district stretching to the Napa County line, could be "historic in nature," Sawyer said.

Not only will Sonoma Valley be represented by a Santa Rosa resident, the five-member board will have three members from the county's largest city, including Supervisors Efren Carrillo and Shirlee Zane, who were re-elected to second terms Tuesday.

The remaining battle is for the 1st District seat held since 2002 <NO1><NO>by Valerie Brown, a former Sonoma mayor and state legislator who lives outside of Kenwood. The district takes in the Sonoma Valley, including the towns of Glen Ellen and Kenwood, the city of Sonoma and much of eastern Santa Rosa.

Claiming the post will require garnering more support in Sonoma Valley along with solidifying a Santa Rosa base, both candidates said in separate interviews Wednesday.

"It's No. 1 on my list," Sawyer said.

"That's the first order of business," Gorin said.

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