Looks like the same-party showdown brewing in the newly drawn 9th Senate District is on for 2012.
Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, confirmed today to the Oakland Tribune that he plans to run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, for the East Bay seat.
The Oakland Tribune reported this afternoon:
Swanson, D-Alameda, had said in late September he was seriously considering the run, right after state Senate Democratic leaders issued poll results showing Hancock, D-Berkeley, had a wide lead over him in a one-on-one matchup for the 9th District seat -- a clear shot across Swanson's bow.
"Senator Hancock for a number of years now has told me she wasn't going to run and was in fact going to support me," Swanson said Tuesday, indicating he was somewhat blindsided by her change of heart but has hardened his resolve. "Dec. 30 is the first day you can take out the official nominating papers to circulate among voters, and that's what I'm going to do, I intend to be first in line."
Hancock wasn't available for comment Tuesday, but her campaign consultant, Andrew Acosta, said Swanson is acting in nobody's best interests but his own.
"Six months ago, Sandre said that he wouldn't run against her, that he was opening a committee based on what the (redrawn district) maps were going to look like, basically shopping for a district, hoping there would be a district for him," Acosta said. "There wasn't, so now he's running against Senator Hancock ... who has a great progressive record of fighting for the things that people in that district care about."
Swanson's decision sets up a big June battle between the two liberal Democrats, both of whom have had labor backing in the past. But unlike in past elections, this primary fight one could extend to November. Under the top-two primary system, the two candidates who receive the most votes, regardless of political party affiliation, compete in the the general election.
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