Sunday, May 11, 2008

Everyone turns up the heat on Nation

As absentee ballots start to go out for California's 03 June 2008 primary, everyone seems to be going for Joe Nation's jugular. Former Assemblymember Nation is locked in a tie for first place in recent polls with Assemblymember Mark Leno for the Senate District 03 Democratic nomination, with incumbent Senator Carole Migden trailing them but still within striking distance.

Leno and Migden are openly gay; Nation is openly moderate.

In a flurry of weekend press, Leno, Migden, and their supporters pointedly call Nation's Democratic credentials into question on a host of issues. In this morning's Chronicle,

Leno said Nation's vote against a Democrat-backed single-payer health care plan, his opposition to financial privacy legislation and his criticism of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's approval of gay marriage show that he is out of step with voters in the district.

By contrast, Leno said, he has voted to protect the most vulnerable people by pushing bills making it harder to evict renters and backing gay marriage - issues, he said, that "no one had brought up before."

In yesterday's Marin Independent Journal,

...Migden and Leno backers say Nation is out of step with local Democrats.

"Probably anywhere else, he would be the liberal, but not in Marin County or San Francisco," said Dotty Lemieux, a local campaign consultant working for Migden.

Greg Brockbank, a longtime Leno backer and chairman of the Marin Democratic Party, agrees.

"I think we progressives are going to go Leno because he's a progressive, and Joe Nation's not," he said.

"He is the most moderate in the race," said Kerry Mazzoni, Nation's predecessor in Marin's Assembly seat. "That doesn't necessarily get you elected in the primary."

Brockbank, a San Rafael councilman, says many Democrats won't forgive Nation for running against Rep. Lynn Woolsey two years ago. It was a race that Woolsey, a darling of progressive Democrats, handily won with a solid two-to-one edge.

And Fog City Journal gave an entire column to ask and answer the question, "Is Nation Out of Touch With San Francisco?" Their short answer is "yes". Nation has yet to weigh in on controversial San Francisco ballot Propositions F and G regarding development of the Bayview Hunters Point area, even though both had been submitted to the Department of Elections by January of this year. He says he needs more time to study them.

The election is 23 days away.

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