[This story was originally published on the website of the public affairs program Newsmakers with Jerry Roberts.]
Supervisor Das Williams says he hasn’t made a final decision on whether to seek Hannah Beth Jackson’s termed-out state Senate seat in 2020 – but will stay put if Assembly member Monique Limon decides to run.
“It depends on who else is running,” Williams told Newsmakers at the Women’s Political Committee gala dinner last Friday night. “I won’t run if Monique does. I’ve encouraged Monique to do it.”
With Jackson midway through her second and final four-year term, there already is considerable speculation amid political junkies, hacks and flacks about the 19th state senate district seat, which includes Santa Barbara and much of Ventura counties.
It seems unlikely that Williams and Limon, two local Democratic Party stalwarts, would oppose each other; either one, however, would become an overwhelming favorite the day they announced.
Monique’s options. For Limon, the decision of whether to remain in the Assembly, where she produced a strong performance in her first term, and to which she is all but certain to be re-elected in November, carries several calculations.
Under California’s term limits law, state legislators are limited to a total of 12 years in office – six two-year Assembly terms, three four-year senate terms, or a combination thereof. If she is re-elected, she would be eligible for eight more years in office: the idea of having to run only two campaigns for four-year senate terms might easily prove more attractive than having to run four more times for two-year Assembly terms.
However, she has done well in her first two years, winning a post in the hierarchical leadership of the dominant Democratic majority, as well as becoming chair of the influential Banking and Finance Committee and a sub-committee chair on the powerful Budget Committee. In addition, there often are prickly rivalries that develop between the two houses over legislation and budget issues.
“At the moment, I haven’t made the decision,” Limon said when Newsmakers reached her as she was campaigning in Ventura on Sunday. “I’m very focused right now on my re-election and I’m taking nothing for granted.”
“I want to make sure that the decision is based on where I feel I can be the most effective,” she added. “I’ve done well (in the Assembly) in my first term.”
Monique acknowledged that she and Das have discussed the matter, and confirmed his comments.
“Das and I have a solid political relationship,” she said. “He did say if I decided to run, he would not run for the seat.”
Tale of two races. Should Limon run for senate, the race to fill her Assembly seat would become the big, wide-open local campaign.
Among other names that figure in insider conversations about the two legislative seats (none of whom we’ve talked to about this matter) are: Luz Reyes Martin and Susan Epstein of the Goleta School Board member; SB school board member Laura Capps and former Mayor Helene Schneider; Ventura City Council member Erik Nasarenko and Matt LaVere, that city’s deputy mayor.
Only 743 days until the 2020 election!