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PD Editorial: The primary suspense was second place

  • Cathy Metz takes down the polling place signs at Herbert Slater Middle School as polls close in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

In the end, it was an election day of few surprises.

Gov. Jerry Brown, as anticipated, coasted to victory and is a heavy favorite to win re-election in the fall. The same is true of Reps. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael.

The only drama in these up-ballot contests was the battle between former Treasury official Neel Kashkari and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly to see who would finish a distant second to Brown. As of late Tuesday, Kashkari had the lead.

Meanwhile, the only two propositions on the ballot also won by handsome margins. Both address timely needs. Proposition 41 authorizes the state to borrow $600 million to help in the construction and renovation of housing for veterans of California. Meanwhile, Proposition 42 will require cities, counties and special districts to comply with the state Public Records Act regardless of whether they believe they have adequate funding to do so.

Sonoma County also saw its share of lopsided wins as both District Attorney Jill Ravitch and Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector David Sundstrom cruised to sizeable victories Tuesday night.

Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt handily won re-election in the 2nd District while Windsor City Councilwoman Deb Fudge and former Obama administration official James Gore will square off in the fall to succeed McGuire in the 4th Supervisorial District.

Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire and Healdsburg Mayor Jim Wood also enjoyed handsome leads in their bids to win seats in the state Legislature.

The only question in some of these races also concerned who would finish second. For example, Republican Gregory Allen of Novato held a narrow lead over Mill Valley Democrat Diana Conti in the bid to unseat Levine in the 10th Assembly District race.

Meanwhile, Napa Supervisor Bill Dodd was leading in the race for the 4th Assembly District while Republican Charlie Schaupp, a farmer and former school trustee, and Davis City Councilman Dan Wolk were locked in a close battle for second.

At the same time, Democrat John Lowry was trailing Republican Mike Heath in a contest to see who would go up against Jim Wood in the race for the 2nd Assembly District.

Despite hopes that the top-two primary system would make fall races more competitive and interesting, all of the local legislative races appear headed for traditional Democrat-vs.-Republican contests. That may be the primary surprise of this election.


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