The decision by former North Bay Assemblyman Joe Nation to enter the already competitive Democratic race for the 3rd District State Senate seat certainly complicates things.
Incumbent Sen. Carole Migden already faced a couple of formidable challengers in San Francisco Assemblyman Mark Leno and San Francisco Police Commissoner Joe Alioto Veronese, a civil rights attorney.
The big question is how Nation’s bid will further divide the Democratic vote in a poorly drawn district that includes portions of San Francisco, all of Marin County and the southern half of Sonoma County.
Possibility No. 1: Migden, a former supervisor and Assembly representative for San Francisco, splits the San Francisco vote on June 3 with Leno and Alioto Veronese. That might leave Nation, the only one who lives north of the Golden Gate Bridge, open to winning with the support of Marin and Sonoma county voters.
Possibility No. 2: The vote will be splintered along gender lines, with Midgen reclaiming the seat primarily because of her support among women.
Possibility No. 3: Nation won’t be much of a factor because North Bay Democrats aren’t ready to forgive him for breaking party protocol and running against Rep. Lynn Woolsey in the Democratic primary in June 2006. He earned the ire of many Democratic leaders at the time and lost by a 2-1 margin.
Nation contends polls show him in a dead heat with Migden and Leno. That’s not surprising. He was a popular legislator in the North Bay and the fact that he is a climate change consultant certainly won’t hurt him in a year when global warming is high on voters’ minds.
An already fascinating race just got more interesting.
– Paul Gullixson