The question arising out of the State Senate contest in the 3rd Senate District was focused more on who would finish second, between former Democratic Assemblymember Mariko Yamada and Republican Greg Coppes.
The answer is clear – Bill Dodd easily finished first with 37 percent of the vote. Mariko Yamada finished second by a perhaps surprisingly comfortable margin over Greg Coppes, with a six-percentage point or about 10,500-vote advantage.
That sets the stage for a contested Senate race in the fall. Had Bill Dodd faced Mr. Coppes, it would have been mostly a formality in a district that is safely Democratic. With Ms. Yamada as the second place finisher, the race becomes more interesting. At first glance, Assemblymember Dodd retains a huge advantage, both monetarily but also in the fact that he is more likely to get the votes that went to Mr. Coppes than is Ms. Yamada.
“Voters want leaders working together, focused on their needs. That’s my record and that’s what I’ll do as a state senator. Voters responded to that, and it speaks to last night’s results,” Bill Dodd told the Vanguard early on Wednesday. “Together we’re going to deliver a stronger California with more good-paying jobs, better schools, affordable college, a healthy environment, and equality for all.”
“I am gratified that voters responded to our message of making California stronger,” said Assemblymember Dodd in an official release from the campaign. “If elected to the senate, I will do everything in my power to deliver results on our most pressing problems, like access to top-quality education, creating more jobs that pay good wages, achieving our climate change goals, and solving our water crisis.
“This election is about the direction of California. Are we going to continue with bitter, divisive politics or are we going to elect people who can solve difficult problems?” he asked. “I’m running to take on those big issues and deliver for working families.”
In a release from Mariko Yamada’s campaign, her campaign noted that Ms. Yamada “overcame an onslaught of special interest money to advance to the run-off; independent groups spent over $3.1 million backing her main opponent.”
Her campaign believes she will have an easier time this fall, noting, “The June primary electorate was an arguably more difficult race – and because State Senate District 3 is home to a more progressive and Democratic voter base, the November general electorate will be more favorable to Yamada – a lifelong Democrat – in a race against a former Republican candidate.”
Ms. Yamada said of the victory, “I’m so proud and humbled to move on to the General Election. Since the beginning, our campaign has been powered by people in every pocket of this district. We have continued to grow our fired-up grassroots volunteer base and organizational support from powerful local and statewide organizations, and we’re excited to continue to build momentum in the months ahead.”
The former Assemblymember, who was termed out in 2014 after serving six years, continued, “Because they know I will always fight for what is right and stand up to big corporations to fight for middle class families, I’ve earned the support of California’s teachers, nurses, environmentalists, SEIU California, Consumer Attorneys, National Union of Healthcare Workers, EMILY’s List, California Women’s List, local Democratic Clubs and Democratic leaders including State Controller Betty Yee, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, State Treasurer John Chiang, Congressman John Garamendi along with hundreds of elected officials and community leaders throughout California.”
She continued, “I have spent my entire life fighting for those who can’t always fight for themselves. I’m not afraid to stand up to corporations, pharmaceutical companies and predatory lenders who take advantage of seniors and families who are the most vulnerable.
“The fact is corporations spent more than $3.1 million boosting my former Republican opponent – in attempts to buy this seat. And it’s clear they get what they pay for because my opponent has walked away from key votes that would protect seniors, consumers and our environment. Unlike my opponent, I will take a stand against polluters, big banks, insurance companies and automobile manufacturers. Californians need leaders who can’t be bought.”
She concluded, “As Assemblywoman, I saw time and time again the system rigged in favor of corporate special interests. We can’t have politicians in Sacramento side with corporations when working and middle class families continue to struggle to make ends meet, when seniors are forced to choose between food and medication, and when polluters like Monsanto put profits ahead of the health and safety of our food supply. I’m running for State Senate to fight hard for the people in this district and for families across California.”
In the Assembly, Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry was the Democrat to emerge to face Republican Charlie Schaupp in a Democratic district.
In a statement she noted, “I am gratified and overwhelmed by the supporters across District 4 that came out to vote for me by mail and at the polling places yesterday.” She added, “As of this writing, we are in second place, leading Mayor Wolk by a little over 2,000 votes. While I know there are a lot of ballots still out there to be counted, we feel very good about the position we’re in.”
The Winters mayor concluded, “I also want to congratulate all my opponents on a very hard-fought campaign. Regardless of the outcome, I hope we can all work together to improve the lives of the residents of this sprawling, six-county district.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting