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Retiring Woolsey endorses Huffman as successor

Retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, endorsed Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael as her successor on Thursday, two days after Huffman scored a big win in the primary election.

Woolsey, who is stepping down after 20 years in office, described Huffman as a "principled progressive and an effective coalition-builder."

"Jared is that rare public servant with both the courage of his convictions and the ability to work constructively to get things done," Woolsey said in a statement from her office in Washington.

"His victory this fall would allow me to leave office knowing that the North Coast is in capable hands, with a representative that truly reflects our district's values," she said.

Huffman, who is termed out of the Assembly this year, finished first with 37.3 percent of the votes in Tuesday's primary election for a North Coast seat in Congress.

Republican Dan Roberts, a political newcomer, came in second to earn a potential spot in a November runoff with Huffman.

Woolsey's endorsement amounts to a symbolic passing of the torch to Huffman, who is considered virtually a sure bet to win in November because of the district's overwhelming Democratic registration. In the primary, almost 75 percent of the votes went to Democrats.

If elected, Huffman would join Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, whose district includes Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Sonoma, as Sonoma County's representatives in the House of Representatives.

Norman Solomon, a Democratic author and activist from west Marin County, was 1,379 votes behind Roberts with tens of thousands of absentee ballots uncounted in the six-county coastal district stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border.

Woolsey, 74, said she was endorsing Huffman "regardless of the final vote tally."

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