Commentary: Lack of Solano Candidates in Assembly Race a bit Vexing

There was a good article first run in the Fairfield Daily Republic on Monday and then run in the Davis Enterprise last night (Tuesday) on the 8th Assembly campaign and the lack of Solano County Candidates.

When the 2008 election occurs, it will have been 12 years that the 8th Assembly District seat has been held from Yolo County and unless something dramatically changes, that pattern may yet continue in 2008 as Yolo County Supervisor Mariko Yamada (Davis) takes on West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

Two-thirds of the voters in the district reside in Solano and not Yolo County. That advantage is somewhat reduced in a Democratic primarily where Yolo County is more heavily Democratic than Solano County and Yolo County voters come out in a higher percentage most of the time.

For example in 2002, the last time there was a contested primary in the 8th Assembly District and the last time the seat was open, just under 20,000 people voted in Solano County. Just over 16,000 people voted in Yolo County. There was still an advantage in Solano, but it was less than 4000 votes. Whereas Solano County had a 67% advantage in voter registration, it only had a 17.5% advantage in voter turnout.

Steve Hardy, the Solano County resident, did finish first in Solano County. But he only prevailed by 1700 votes over Lois Wolk and by 2900 over Christopher Cabaldon. In Yolo County however, he got wiped out receiving only 1925 votes whereas Lois Wolk received just under 8500 and Cabaldon just under 6000. Thus Hardy won small in Solano on his home turf so to speak but lost big in Yolo and finished third with 27.8% of the vote district wide to 41% by Wolk and 31% by Cabaldon.

The article interviews several Solano County officials and finds a general lack of interest by prominent officials in seeking a higher office.

First, Steve Hardy decided not to run this time after getting appointed head of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“I was holding up the parade, waiting to see if I got this appointment, but that’s been three months and nobody has sallied forth… I wish they would. I believe there are a number of very fine candidates from Solano County that could have entered the race and they all chose not to.”

Vacaville City Councilwoman Pauline Clancy also declined to run.

Longtime Vacaville City Councilwoman Pauline Clancy said she has been approached in the past about her interest in seeking a higher office. She has declined and believes other county officials have made similar decisions.

“I’ve been asked many, many times to run for higher office and I have said I can do the most good for the citizens at the level that I’m at,” she said. “I have no desire to go to Sacramento in that quagmire.”

Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering:

“Among elected (officials), we all talk about it quite a bit,” said Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering, who spent 20 years as mayor of Suisun City. “I don’t know that I know the answer, but it’s not that it doesn’t go without discussion.”

He goes on to say:

Given Solano’s size and prominent, high-growth location between Sacramento and the Bay Area, Spering said he expects the county to the assert itself politically, although he added it was probably too late for someone new to become competitive in the 2008 Assembly race.

“At some point … I think you’re going to see a groundswell in local representation in the state Legislature,” he said. “Right now, Solano County hasn’t politically matured to that point.”

One potential clue into the reason for the dearth of candidates aside from just shear coincidence might however be that Solano County has been well represented in the Assembly regardless of the home county of their Assemblyperson.

Fairfield City Councilmember Jack Batson applauded currently Assemblywoman Lois Wolk for “doing her homework” on Solano County before her 2002 campaign.

“Lois has made herself visible for every possible occasion here… Before she ran, she was here asking lots of questions and I think she was pretty much up to speed.”

That visibility probably helped her narrow the gap enough in Solano County that she was able to off-set Hardy’s advantage there with a very strong performance in Yolo County.

It is probably not too late for someone to join the race, however, they will face two candidates that have been campaigning and raising money since January. Already, Cabaldon’s campaign has raised over $370,00 while Yamada has raised $140,000.

Nevertheless at some point you have to look at this as a market situation. If Solano County felt that they were being shorted in terms of representation, the politicians in Solano would put up a candidate and the voters would be clamoring for a Solano County candidate. That again does not seem to be happening.

So for now, Solano County is the sleeping giant, a fast growing county whose vote is split into two Assembly Districts but who has not asserted its power and strength even in a District where it holds an edge in terms of voter registration. Will it wake up this cycle or will it wait another six years to be heard? Only time will tell and a lot of that may have to do with how Cabaldon and Yamada are perceived. Outside of a few elected officials that have endorsed primarily Mayor Cabaldon, it is not clear just how much is known about either candidate.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Elections

104 comments

  1. Also noteworthy to mention that in the 2002 primary election, there were 11,708 Solano votes for Wolk or Cabaldon, 8,160 for Hardy. That’s a 60-40% vote for the non-Solano candidate.

    The problem for Hardy was that he was known in Vacaville, but not Fairfield, Suisun or Rio Vista. In fact, I think Cabaldon may have won Rio Vista in that election.

    The Solano side gets news from SF networks and papers – which cover little of what is going on in the region. They may know people in their own city (much like Davis voters know people from Davis) but they don’t know anyone that come from more than a couple freeway exits away.

    Solano voters can be more socially conservative, as is being touted by Yamada’s recent poll. But they sure aren’t unified. They don’t know who Yamada is and only move to support her after she makes them aware of his “negatives.”

    Solano may be the key to the election because it is the only population that is really in play this coming June. But that doesn’t mean that they have any kind of ability to put forward a candidate from that area who can win.

  2. Also noteworthy to mention that in the 2002 primary election, there were 11,708 Solano votes for Wolk or Cabaldon, 8,160 for Hardy. That’s a 60-40% vote for the non-Solano candidate.

    The problem for Hardy was that he was known in Vacaville, but not Fairfield, Suisun or Rio Vista. In fact, I think Cabaldon may have won Rio Vista in that election.

    The Solano side gets news from SF networks and papers – which cover little of what is going on in the region. They may know people in their own city (much like Davis voters know people from Davis) but they don’t know anyone that come from more than a couple freeway exits away.

    Solano voters can be more socially conservative, as is being touted by Yamada’s recent poll. But they sure aren’t unified. They don’t know who Yamada is and only move to support her after she makes them aware of his “negatives.”

    Solano may be the key to the election because it is the only population that is really in play this coming June. But that doesn’t mean that they have any kind of ability to put forward a candidate from that area who can win.

  3. Also noteworthy to mention that in the 2002 primary election, there were 11,708 Solano votes for Wolk or Cabaldon, 8,160 for Hardy. That’s a 60-40% vote for the non-Solano candidate.

    The problem for Hardy was that he was known in Vacaville, but not Fairfield, Suisun or Rio Vista. In fact, I think Cabaldon may have won Rio Vista in that election.

    The Solano side gets news from SF networks and papers – which cover little of what is going on in the region. They may know people in their own city (much like Davis voters know people from Davis) but they don’t know anyone that come from more than a couple freeway exits away.

    Solano voters can be more socially conservative, as is being touted by Yamada’s recent poll. But they sure aren’t unified. They don’t know who Yamada is and only move to support her after she makes them aware of his “negatives.”

    Solano may be the key to the election because it is the only population that is really in play this coming June. But that doesn’t mean that they have any kind of ability to put forward a candidate from that area who can win.

  4. Also noteworthy to mention that in the 2002 primary election, there were 11,708 Solano votes for Wolk or Cabaldon, 8,160 for Hardy. That’s a 60-40% vote for the non-Solano candidate.

    The problem for Hardy was that he was known in Vacaville, but not Fairfield, Suisun or Rio Vista. In fact, I think Cabaldon may have won Rio Vista in that election.

    The Solano side gets news from SF networks and papers – which cover little of what is going on in the region. They may know people in their own city (much like Davis voters know people from Davis) but they don’t know anyone that come from more than a couple freeway exits away.

    Solano voters can be more socially conservative, as is being touted by Yamada’s recent poll. But they sure aren’t unified. They don’t know who Yamada is and only move to support her after she makes them aware of his “negatives.”

    Solano may be the key to the election because it is the only population that is really in play this coming June. But that doesn’t mean that they have any kind of ability to put forward a candidate from that area who can win.

  5. Solano voters can be more socially conservative, as is being touted by Yamada’s recent poll. But they sure aren’t unified. They don’t know who Yamada is and only move to support her after she makes them aware of his “negatives.”

    What is this about? Is this code for the fact that Cabaldon is gay???

    If so, is the Yamada campaign claiming that it will garner some Solano County support on the basis of being the “straight” candidate???

    Let’s hope not, that would be really horrible, even more so, if the Yamada campaign is deliberately attempting to court such support, especially for the purported “progressive” candidate.

    I really hope that I am misunderstanding what this is about.

    –Richard Estes

  6. Solano voters can be more socially conservative, as is being touted by Yamada’s recent poll. But they sure aren’t unified. They don’t know who Yamada is and only move to support her after she makes them aware of his “negatives.”

    What is this about? Is this code for the fact that Cabaldon is gay???

    If so, is the Yamada campaign claiming that it will garner some Solano County support on the basis of being the “straight” candidate???

    Let’s hope not, that would be really horrible, even more so, if the Yamada campaign is deliberately attempting to court such support, especially for the purported “progressive” candidate.

    I really hope that I am misunderstanding what this is about.

    –Richard Estes

  7. Solano voters can be more socially conservative, as is being touted by Yamada’s recent poll. But they sure aren’t unified. They don’t know who Yamada is and only move to support her after she makes them aware of his “negatives.”

    What is this about? Is this code for the fact that Cabaldon is gay???

    If so, is the Yamada campaign claiming that it will garner some Solano County support on the basis of being the “straight” candidate???

    Let’s hope not, that would be really horrible, even more so, if the Yamada campaign is deliberately attempting to court such support, especially for the purported “progressive” candidate.

    I really hope that I am misunderstanding what this is about.

    –Richard Estes

  8. Solano voters can be more socially conservative, as is being touted by Yamada’s recent poll. But they sure aren’t unified. They don’t know who Yamada is and only move to support her after she makes them aware of his “negatives.”

    What is this about? Is this code for the fact that Cabaldon is gay???

    If so, is the Yamada campaign claiming that it will garner some Solano County support on the basis of being the “straight” candidate???

    Let’s hope not, that would be really horrible, even more so, if the Yamada campaign is deliberately attempting to court such support, especially for the purported “progressive” candidate.

    I really hope that I am misunderstanding what this is about.

    –Richard Estes

  9. The article DPD quotes is odd. Neither Clancy nor Spering are Democrats, so neither could run in a primary against Cabaldon and Yamada Not sure who didn’t do their homework, DPD or the original writer, but the blog implies either had the potential of jumping in.

  10. The article DPD quotes is odd. Neither Clancy nor Spering are Democrats, so neither could run in a primary against Cabaldon and Yamada Not sure who didn’t do their homework, DPD or the original writer, but the blog implies either had the potential of jumping in.

  11. The article DPD quotes is odd. Neither Clancy nor Spering are Democrats, so neither could run in a primary against Cabaldon and Yamada Not sure who didn’t do their homework, DPD or the original writer, but the blog implies either had the potential of jumping in.

  12. The article DPD quotes is odd. Neither Clancy nor Spering are Democrats, so neither could run in a primary against Cabaldon and Yamada Not sure who didn’t do their homework, DPD or the original writer, but the blog implies either had the potential of jumping in.

  13. Localdem:

    I appreciate that comment, I did not check the registration of those individuals (nor was I that familiar with them to begin with to know their party), I pulled the quotes out of the original article. That’s actually rather mindboggling reading those quotes now.

    If these individuals are not Democrats, that casts serious doubt into the article.

  14. Localdem:

    I appreciate that comment, I did not check the registration of those individuals (nor was I that familiar with them to begin with to know their party), I pulled the quotes out of the original article. That’s actually rather mindboggling reading those quotes now.

    If these individuals are not Democrats, that casts serious doubt into the article.

  15. Localdem:

    I appreciate that comment, I did not check the registration of those individuals (nor was I that familiar with them to begin with to know their party), I pulled the quotes out of the original article. That’s actually rather mindboggling reading those quotes now.

    If these individuals are not Democrats, that casts serious doubt into the article.

  16. Localdem:

    I appreciate that comment, I did not check the registration of those individuals (nor was I that familiar with them to begin with to know their party), I pulled the quotes out of the original article. That’s actually rather mindboggling reading those quotes now.

    If these individuals are not Democrats, that casts serious doubt into the article.

  17. Didn’t think it implied Spering was a candidate, just a political insider.

    It does make me wonder why the current Assembly candidates are not spending more time in Solano County? Seems like it would be ripe for them to reach voters who are not familiar with either candidate.

  18. Didn’t think it implied Spering was a candidate, just a political insider.

    It does make me wonder why the current Assembly candidates are not spending more time in Solano County? Seems like it would be ripe for them to reach voters who are not familiar with either candidate.

  19. Didn’t think it implied Spering was a candidate, just a political insider.

    It does make me wonder why the current Assembly candidates are not spending more time in Solano County? Seems like it would be ripe for them to reach voters who are not familiar with either candidate.

  20. Didn’t think it implied Spering was a candidate, just a political insider.

    It does make me wonder why the current Assembly candidates are not spending more time in Solano County? Seems like it would be ripe for them to reach voters who are not familiar with either candidate.

  21. I was checking out both candidates websites, and was looking at Solano County support for both candidates. Here it is, straight from the sites:

    Cabaldon:
    Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher
    Former Assemblyman, 8th District, Tom Hannigan
    Solano County Treasurer/Tax Collector/Clerk Charles Lomeli
    Solano County Assessor/Recorder Marc Tonnesen
    Solano County Supervisor John Silva, Vice-Chair
    Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering
    Former Solano County Supervisor Duane Kromm
    Former Solano County Supervisor Larry Asera

    Fairfield Mayor Harry Price
    Fairfield Vice Mayor Jack Batson
    Fairfield Councilmember Marilyn Farley
    Fairfield Councilmember John Mraz

    Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez
    Suisun City Councilman Michael Segala

    Dixon City Councilmember Jack Batchelor
    Former Dixon City Councilmember Herb Cross

    Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District Board President Gary Falati (former Mayor of Fairfield)

    Solano Community College Trustee Dr. Tony Ubalde
    Solano Community College Trustee Denis Honeychurch
    Solano Community College Trustee Phil McCaffrey

    Solano County Board of Education Trustee Jose Briseno
    Solano County Board of Education Trustee Doug Ford

    Dixon School Board Vice President Shana Levine

    Former Rio Vista Mayor Marci Coglianese

    Former Vacaville City Councilmember Rischa Slade

    Former Fairfield-Suisun Unified School Board Member Abe Bautista
    Former President of Vallejo Unified School District Board of
    Education Rozzana Verder Aliga

    Robert Hertan, past President, Northern Solano Democratic Club
    Mel Orpilla, President, Filipino American Democratic Club of Benicia/Vallejo
    Irv Teranishi, past President, Northern Solano Democratic Club, past President, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA)
    Mary Frances Kelly Poh, former President, Carquinez Democratic Club
    Phil McCaffrey, past President, Solano Community College Democratic Club
    Bob Hertan, past President, Northern Solano Democratic Club
    Shirley Hunley, past Chair, 8th Assembly District Democratic Committee
    Marie Johnson, President, Rio Vista Democratic Club
    Marlene Sarnat, Vice-Chair, Rio Vista Democratic Club
    Carol Turgeon, co-founder of Rio Vista Democratic Club
    Rosalind Malone, co-founder of Rio Vista Democratic Club

    Yamada:
    Deloris Roach, President of Northern Solano Democratic Club
    Jennifer Green-Hawkins, Member, Northern Solano Democratic Club
    Joe Moore, Member, Northern Solano Democratic Club
    Mayrene Bates, Trustee, Solano County Board of Education
    Stephen Murphy, Member, Solano Community College Board
    Pauline Clancy, Member, Vacaville City Council
    Jane Day, Vice Mayor, Suisun City