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Williams, Stoker to Face Off in November for Assembly Seat

On the Democratic side, Das Williams emerges with a win after fierce campaign battle with Susan Jordan

Tuesday’s primary election set the stage for a November showdown between Democrat Das Williams and Republican Mike Stoker for the 35th District Assembly seat, with both candidates winning by big margins.

Williams came away with wide support in Santa Barbara County, winning about 68 percent of the vote.

“I’m truly humbled to see the outpouring of support,” he told Noozhawk, adding that he was grateful for all the help his campaign has received and looks forward to the discourse of the fall election. “Even more, I look forward to the opportunity to serve Santa Barbara and Ventura counties for another six years.”

His opponent, Susan Jordan, executive director of the nonprofit California Coastal Protection Network, was neck-and-neck with Williams in Ventura County, edging him 49.82 percent to 49.13 percent.

“When you run for the first time, there’s an incredible learning curve,” Jordan said. Win or lose, she said she felt good about her campaign, calling it honest and resourceful, and was grateful for the amount of support through votes and endorsements.

Das Williams
Das Williams

“It was an extraordinary experience,” she said.

Williams, a Santa Barbara city councilman, and Jordan had been fiercely campaigning both for the seat and against each other as Tuesday drew close. The most recent bout, fought mostly through mailers and e-mails, focusing on the oil drilling deal with Plains Exploration & Production Inc. off Vandenberg Air Force Base. The two also exchanged criticisms over campaign contributions, of which there are many; they’ve raised nearly $1 million between them, drawing attention away from the Republican primary in which just one of the two candidates was fundraising.

In November, Williams will take on Stoker, who’s sitting on $102,000 of his $130,000 in preparation for the battle ahead — far less than Williams, who has raised nearly $600,000 total.

Stoker garnered nearly 62 percent of the votes in Ventura County and about 80 percent in Santa Barbara County, but got increasingly self-conscious of his small amount of spending in the week before the election, even though his opponent spent nothing.

Mike Stoker
Mike Stoker

Stoker depended mostly on name recognition from his previous work as a Santa Barbara County supervisor, but said he worried that anti-incumbent sentiments could be directed toward him.

After party-hopping in the Santa Barbara area Tuesday night, Stoker got down to business and said there would be a clear line between his and Williams’ opinions on what needs to be done in Sacramento. Stoker says the Assembly needs someone to get California back on track fiscally and to pursue regulatory reform to help the business sector. He says his opponent’s stance on issues would hurt rather than help.

Stoker’s opponent in the primary, Daniel Goldberg, did not fundraise but still snagged about 37 percent of votes in Ventura County, his home. Goldberg, who works at Skyline Flower Growers, said he had hoped to bring attention to the plight of the agricultural community.

The 35th District seat is currently held by Jordan’s husband, Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara. Nava, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election, was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general, but he finished a distant fifth in a seven-candidate field Tuesday.

Click here for Noozhawk’s candidate Q&A with Stoker.

Click here for Noozhawk’s candidate Q&A with Williams.

Click here for complete Santa Barbara County election results or click here for Ventura County’s totals. For complete statewide results, click here for the state Secretary of State’s election summary.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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