Without public polling, you’re left to look for signals about how contested races are shaping up. Well, in the 7th Assembly District, there were signs in the mail box over the weekend that Santa Rosa Democrat Michael Allen’s supporters thought this race was going to be close

And they may be right.

Absentee returns from Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties show the Democratic primary shaping up as a nail-biter: Allen has 40.4 percent, Michael Wilson of Vallejo has 39.2 percent and Lee Pierce of Santa Rosa trails far behind at 19.7 percent.

If you didn’t receive them, the North Bay Labor Council, which supports Allen, paid for at least two weekend mailers that sought to Wilson to the gulf oil spill. The evidence: He received a $1,500 donation from Chevron.

This should be an interesting contest to watch all night.

— Jim Sweeney