Assembly race debate tonight

The Assembly seat for California’s Assembly District 3 which includes the northern half of San Francisco, throughout Marin County and into Southern Sonoma is up for grabs on June 3rd. Incumbent Carole Migden and her challengers Mark Leno and Joe Nation are scheduled to begin the verbal sparring at 6:30 pm at 200 McCallister tonight, Tuesday March 18th. The UC Hastings Alumni Reception Center will host the second San Francisco debate of these 3 Democratic contenders since a prior appearance at The Potrero Democratic Club earlier this month. Since that debate, after announcing raising $250,000, SF Police Commissioner, Joe Veronese Alioto pulled out of his longshot bid.

And then there were three…

Leno, the leading challenger is a popular former SF Supervisor, and newly termed out assembly member, who has made waves for challenging the supposed “safe” seat that Migden has held for years. The race has made for some uncomfortable choices in bedfellows as the two political rivals both emerged from the same party with similar strong support in the local LGBT community. Last year when Leno announced his candidacy, it sent ripples through political circles, and an endorsement of Migden over Leno nearly erupted into a fracas at a Harvey Milk Democratic Club meeting. Joining the acrimonious fray for District 3’s seat is Joe Nation, a former state lawmaker who is now a Stanford educator andf who announced his candidacy last month.

Leno is hungry for more power in Sacramento, and has painted Migden as unethical, which he highlights by pointing to campaign fundraising issues, including Migden’s litigation against the State’s Fair Political Practices Committee for refusing to let her tap into an additional million bucks she wants to use in her campaign. Migden in a separate case, has also reportedly agreed today to a $350000 fine for 89 violations of the Political Reform Act. The fine is a record for a sitting lawmaker.

One can see some micro parallels to the mega Obama-Clinton feud currently splitting Dems nationally as upstart Leno, who got his political start working under Migden, now sets sparks flying as a “young turk” challenging conventions & Migden’s tenure. It should be a somewhat interesting, if tempestuous exchange of ideas & ideology no doubt bubbling under heaps of hubris.

2 Comments so far

  1. sfcitizen on March 18th, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

    Leno is a termed out Assembly member in the district 3 Senate race.

    Does this site allow people to email the authors? Hard to tell.

  2. Lil Mike (sf_mike) on March 19th, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

    Sorry about the sloppy description of Leno’s termed out role. I regret that I was in a bit of a hurry myself to head out the door and actually attend the debate and did not thoroughly scan the post for errors…

    Picking one of the three candidates is almost a political toss-up, since all intend be so-called "progressive" Democrats in Sacramento.

    Nation, based in the North Bay, is the most "moderate" of the three, a former lawmaker who walked away from politics after a failed congressional run, but has rekindled his aspirations supposedly based on his concern for environmental issues.

    Migden started the event off by trying to speak into the portable podium light instead of the mic, which looked like a Lucille Ball routine but was apparently an honest mistake. While she has an impressive list of issues & bills she’s worked on, the room seemed unsatisfied about her ability to answer fully for the financial improprieties she’s been accused of. She glossed over a question about her political financial probs using a well rehearsed excuse about her medications & illness & mentioned using amateurs & volunteers to do her financial reporting for her. This answer caused a few folks to look around the room for shared smirks & grimaces at her excuses.

    Leno, comes off as the most ambitious of the three, if not a bit cloying, self satisfied, and at times smarmy. He did make clear that the state is suffering financially and Gov. Schwarzenegger’s repeal of auto registration fees has been a real disaster to getting money for once standard general fund programs. He mentioned he was eager to leave to receive an award from journalists for drafting legislation regarding access to public records that the Governor vetoed.

    Of course Leno’s mention of his award ceremony prompted Migden to mention her own award party that night, something regarding the Dolly Madison award. Migden made it clear she’d been getting things done for years, and intends to continue that. Unfortunately for her, with her poll numbers well below the other candidates … she’s likely on the ugly way out.

    No matter who takes the reign for the race, and lately Migden looks the most unlikely candidate, the "winner" is in for some long days & hard times & big battles in Sacto …

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