Dan Wolk has conceded defeat in the District 4 Assembly primary election and pledged his support to fellow Democrat Bill Dodd.
Dodd now turns his attention to Republican Charlie Schaupp, the Esparto farmer and retired Marine officer who finished second. They’ll compete in November to replace termed-out Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis.
Wolk, meanwhile, will be sworn in as mayor on July 1, by virtue of being the top vote-getter in the 2012 council election.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed, but I’m really proud of the campaign that we ran,” he said. “We had strong districtwide support, not just in Davis and Yolo (County) but in other counties. We just came up short — achingly short.”
With a dwindling number of ballots left to be counted in Sonoma and Lake counties, Dodd on Thursday led with 26.6 percent, followed by Schaupp (25.7), Wolk (24.2), Democrat Joe Krovoza (17.8) and Republican Dustin Call (5.7). Schaupp leads Wolk by 1,126 votes.
Wolk called Dodd on Wednesday after a new pile of votes from Napa County, Dodd’s home county, largely went to him, and Wolk was unable to pick up enough votes from among the remaining Yolo ballots to put him into the top two.
“(Dodd) has a lot of experience in Napa, as a supervisor, and he has a lot of experience on issues that are important to this district, whether that’s in the area of agriculture or whether that’s transportation and infrastructure,” Wolk said. “He’ll do a great job in the Legislature, and I’m happy to support him.”
Political action committees supporting Wolk and Dodd traded shots at each other’s chosen candidate, including a commercial portraying Wolk as a flip-flopper on issues and a mailer blaming Dodd for bad bolts on the Bay Bridge.
PACs spent $1.28 million in independent expenditures in the district — the third highest total among the state’s legislative primary races.
“All we can control is our own message,” Wolk said. “We kept that focus on restoring the California dream, on assisting the middle class. Judging by the results, that message played well, but we came up short.”
Billing himself as pro-business moderate, Dodd, a former Republican, owned a geographic advantage, with more of the district’s voters in his proximity. He also proved adept at raising substantial sums and rounding up the support of elected officials.
Wolk, 37, lost despite having the support of the state party, a near sweep of Yolo County endorsements, union financial might and name recognition as the son of Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. Krovoza won more Davis precincts, but didn’t fare as well as Wolk elsewhere in the district.
The end result: No Davis Democrat in the Assembly for the first time since 1996, a fact provoking some finger-pointing.
“When it came to Joe and myself, we’ve always had a good relationship on the City Council and we’ve done a lot of great work together,” Wolk said.
“There are some who are very passionate and are very hurt by the result, and I understand that, but I think, at this point, going forward, we’ve got a lot of challenges in our community that we need to tackle together. That’s what I’m going to be focusing on the next two years. ”
Challenges ahead, he said, include choosing a new city manager, economic development, affordable housing, raising employee morale and infrastructure.
Voters also narrowly approved Measure P, tossing out the city’s water rates for those in place before May 2013.
“I don’t read that to be discontent with the (Davis-Woodland surface) water project itself,” Wolk said. “We voted on that with Measure I and the community was very clear about supporting that.
“There may be people who voted for Measure P with an eye toward ultimately killing the project, but it’s my impression that this was about the rates. So it’s really critical that the council get these rates right. In order to fund this project we need to increase rates — and we need to do that soon.”
— Reach Cory Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden