Now that Dandy Dan Wolk is celebrating Father’s Day as an “official” candidate for the 4th District Assembly seat after Saturday’s formal announcement, I’m doing my best to handicap a race that is still in the embryonic stage.
So far we have four Democrats and no Republicans in the race, which is not surprising given that this is presumed to be one of those “safe” Democratic districts.
In the only other Assembly election since the district was redrawn following the 2010 census, Mariko Yamada romped past John Munn by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Whether anyone will rise from the tomb of the Unknown Republican to become yet another sacrificial lamb remains to be seen, but here’s betting the answer is “no.”
Which leaves us with Dandy Dan and his councilmate, Joe Krovoza, plus Napa County Planning Commissioner Matt Pope and Lake County Supervisor Anthony Farrington, all vying for the top two spots in the primary and a two-man face-off in the November 2014 general election. And, as my friend Rich notes, even if someone pulls off a majority in the primary, there’s still a runoff in November between the top two vote-getters. Strange, but true.
Interestingly, despite being routed in 2012, Munn did win Colusa County (1,381 to 1,001) and Solano County (6,447 to 5,381), though only parts of each county are in the 4th District.
Yamada dominated in Napa County, all of which is in the district (32,799 to 20,828) and that portion of Yolo County in the district (37,583 to 18,210). That part of Sonoma County in the district went to Yamada as well (19,039 to 8,235). All of Lake County is in the district and it went to Yamada (12,278 to 9,845).
Speaking strictly geographically, Pope could make things interesting if he can dominate Napa County, his home, while Wolk and Krovoza split the Davis vote and perhaps fare poorly in Woodland, where the phrase “Davis City Councilman” is not exactly a powerful calling card.
It gets even more interesting if Farrington can hold his own in his home Lake County, denying a foothold for any of the other three. Such a scenario could land Pope at the top of the primary heap, with either Wolk or Krovoza a close second.
This assumes, of course, that all four candidates stay the course in more than name only by running credible campaigns throughout the district. That’s by no means assured.
Pope sounds those consistent Democratic themes of more money for higher education, protection of ag land, environmental conservation and economic stimulation. It’ll be hard to find any other candidate disagreeing with those broad positions.
Common wisdom tells you Pope may as well save his money and not spend much time courting the Davis vote, what with both Wolk and Krovoza in the race, but our recent highly contentious water election may provide him with an opening, especially with the 46 percent of Davisites who voted against the project. Given that both Wolk and Krovoza strongly supported the water project and are now attempting to abandon their posts before the really bad water rates hit the electorate, Pope may be able to gain some traction among those Davisites who felt betrayed by the water vote. Then again, he’d have to disavow the water project, which is something he may be reluctant to do.
Still, I receive emails regularly from folks like my friend Pam, who says she could not support either Krovoza or Wolk for Assembly “because of the water rate debacle that is going to bankrupt our town.”
Both Krovoza and Wolk have proven to be popular at the ballot box when they were seeking seats on the council, but the evaluation process can be much, much different when an Assembly seat is on the line.
For sure, one of those two will earn a spot in the general election, but not both. The likely opponent will be Matt Pope.
We’ll know more about who’s serious and who’s not when the dollars start rolling in to the various campaign treasuries. With six counties to cover in your campaign bus, if you can’t raise gas money, you can’t win.
— Reach Bob Dunning at firstname.lastname@example.org