Two Democrats are waging a costly fight to represent the North Bay in the state Assembly.
In the June primary, Democrats Sara Aminzadeh and Damon Connolly took 36.2% and 37.1%, respectively. The district, newly numbered 12, covers all of Marin County and the southern half of Sonoma County.
Aminzadeh has taken the lead in fundraising, raising $620,111 this year through Sept. 24, compared to Conolly’s $530,789 in the same period. Recent campaign filings show that two Democrats have spent over $1.2 million fighting each other so far.
Connolly has represented San Rafael and surrounding communities on the Marin County Board of Supervisors since 2015 and, before that, sat on the San Rafael City Council. Aminzadeh is more of a newcomer to the district, but appears to have stronger connections in Sacramento. She worked for environmental nonprofits before being appointed to the California Coastal Commission in 2017.
Aminzadeh’s biggest financial supporters include the California Faculty Association ($19,200); Gap Inc. executive Robert Fisher and his wife, Elizabeth ($10,800); and the Association of California School Administrators ($9,700). Her campaign has also received $49,250 from 30 employees of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, a law firm where her husband is a partner.
Meanwhile, Connolly’s biggest single contributors include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ($19,400), the Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 ($14,600) and a total of $49,000 from 10 chapters of Govern for California, a network of 18 nonprofits which has reportedly spent over $3 million on California elections this year.
The pair’s websites each sport long lists of endorsements, both including local politicians and labor groups.
Connolly has claimed endorsements from both daily newspapers in the district—the Press Democrat and Marin Independent Journal—and seven current members of the state legislature. Meanwhile, Aminzadeh has been endorsed by more state and federal officials, including Rep. Jared Huffman, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and 36 current members of the state legislature.
Some are staying out of the in-fighting all together. The California Democratic Party failed to reach a consensus on an endorsement in the race and, as a result, local Democratic groups didn’t endorse in the race either. Levine, the outgoing Assemblymember, hasn’t publicly picked his successor.
One thing is certain: Once the dust settles, the North Bay will send another Democrat to the statehouse.