Press Democrat- Huffman a likely shoo-in for Congress
Thursday, October 25, 2012 Press Democrat- Huffman a likely shoo-in for CongressBy GUY KOVNER THE PRESS DEMOCRATDemocratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman is a... Read More

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Press Democrat- Huffman a likely shoo-in for Congress

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Press Democrat- Huffman a likely shoo-in for Congress

THE PRESS DEMOCRATDemocratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman is a safe bet to win
the North Coast seat in Congress in the Nov. 6 election, filling the
vacancy created by Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s retirement after 20 years on
Capitol Hill.Huffman, who is termed out of his Sonoma-Marin County
Assembly seat, picked up Woolsey’s endorsement after dominating the
June primary with 37.5 percent of the vote in a 12-candidate race.

More telling, however, is that Huffman and seven
other Democrats tallied 75 percent of the vote in a district where
Democrats account for nearly half of the 397,600 registered voters.

Republicans and voters with no party preference each have about 22 percent.

Huffman, 48, of San Rafael publicly launched his
campaign in December 2010, on the day Woolsey confirmed her impending

He’s run a textbook campaign, starting with an
advantage in name recognition after six years in Sacramento. He has
raised more than $1.24 million in campaign contributions and amassed
more than 800 endorsements.

His Republican opponent, Dan Roberts, a Tiburon
securities broker, finished second in the primary with 15 percent of the
vote and has financed his campaign largely with his own loans of

Roberts, 69, said in jest that he’d like stormy weather on Election Day to hold down voter turnout—“and I need a miracle.”

The North Coast hasn’t been in play politically since
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, stepped up from the state Senate in
1998 and won the first of seven straight terms by an average 65 percent
of the vote.

Thompson, who also endorsed Huffman, was shifted this year to a new inland district that includes his Napa County home.

Huffman, a former environmental attorney, said he
favors investing in infrastructure, education and clean energy as well
as cutting the military budget and “promoting tax fairness,” steps that
are “essential to effectively and fairly resolving our fiscal problems.”

In the Assembly this year, Huffman proposed 17 bills
and got seven approved and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, while one giving
doctors more authority over prescribing pain medication was vetoed. As a
freshman in a Republican-controlled House, he’d be a lot less likely to
make such an impact, experts say.

But Huffman said the House seniority system is “less
ossified” than ever, allowing relatively new members to make an impact.
He also has a potential ally in House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi,
whose San Francisco district borders Huffman’s Assembly district.

“I’ve got to build that relationship,” Huffman said, noting he met Pelosi in her Washington office a few months ago.

While some analysts think the scenario is a longshot,
Huffman thinks Democrats have a chance at winning the 25 seats needed
to regain a House majority, a prospect that’s more likely if President
Barack Obama wins re-election, Huffman said.

Roberts said he is “running hard until the end” on a somewhat independent platform.

“Washington is broken and both parties have failed us,” he said.

As owner of a securities dealership for 26 years,
Roberts said he has “the know-how to take on the Wall Street crooks” and
a businessman’s ability to “create jobs and manage a budget.”

Roberts said he advocates a “smaller federal government” through spending cuts, followed by corporate and individual tax cuts.

He would eliminate “unnecessary environmental
regulations” that hamper economic development, such as a new oil
refinery in California that could ease gasoline prices.

The 2nd Congressional District stretches from Marin
County to the Oregon border, excluding Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati
and Sonoma Valley.

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