Bill Monning Announces State Senate Run
August 16, 2011
Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Carmel) announced Monday that he will run for State Senate, vying for a seat currently occupied by Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo).
Monning had been waiting to make his candidacy official until redistricting lines were finalized, which increase the Democratic margin in the senate district from a 5-point lead to a 16-point lead. Forty-five percent of the newly drawn districts voters are registered Democrats.
Besides tilting more heavily democratic, the new district also shifts geographically northward including Santa Cruz County and a portion of Santa Clara County. It loses the northern portion of Santa Barbara County, an area heavily in the Blakeslee camp. Blakeslee, a moderate, has not yet officially announced a bid for reelection.
Also unknown is whether John Laird, secretary for natural resources and former state assemblyman who preceded Monning, will run for the seat. He ran against Blakeslee in 2010 and lost. Laird is also a Democrat.
“I have spent the last three years fighting hard for the Central Coast,” Monning said in a statement. “I have battled to save our coastline, promote our hospitality and tourism industry, provide greater access to health care options, protect consumers and make sure the state’s budget isn’t balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Besides the boost from party affiliation, being from the northern part of the district will go a long way for Monning, says Monterey County Democratic Party Chairman Vinz Koller. "These elections are very local elections," he says. "In order for you to be known, it's really more about region that party affiliation."
Koller's ideal district would be comprised of the tri-county area—Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. "Our community of interest is a little better represented than when it went down all the way to Santa Barbara County. This is better for Monterey County."
Mark Stone, a Santa Cruz County Supervisor, announced plans to run for Monning's Assembly seat. If Stone goes to Sacramento, a vacancy on the Coastal Commission would open up. Monterey County Supervisor Dave Potter served on the Coastal Commission for 12 years through 2008. Currently, no Coastal Commission seats are occupied by Monterey County representatives.