…….In a battle of current and former 79th Assemby members,
Juan Vargas (San Diego) will duel Assemblywoman Mary Salas
(Chula Vista) for the 40th state senate nomination. Incumbent
senator Denise Ducheny is term-limited, so Salas and Vargas
will compete in the June 2010 Democratic primary.
There had been a few rumors of such a contest, but today Alan
Hoffenblum’s authoritative “California Target Book” declared the
race is on… and combined with Juan Vargas filing an Intention
statement, that is good enough for this correspondent.
Nothing is as rare as a seriously-contested state senate primary
in San Diego county. The last was in 2002, when Dennis Hollings-
worth of Riverside upset Charlene Zettel of Poway for SD 36. East
County activist JOEL ANDERSON was a major factor as Hollings-
worth won the San Diego county portion of SD 36 in a stunner.
TALE OF THE TAPE:
JUAN VARGAS AND MARY SALAS
(A) MONEY: big edge so far to Mary Salas. Most recent official filings
show Salas with $193,088 cash-on-hand, to only $8,900 for Vargas,
who is a relatively late starter.
(B) POPULATION: big edge here to San Diego-based Juan Vargas
over Chula Vistan Mary Salas. Both began their elected careers on
city councils, and the population of the San Diego City portion of SD
40 is roughly DOUBLE that of Chula Vista’s part! Three smaller towns
(Coronado, National City and Imperial Beach) will be up for grabs.
Juan Vargas is renowned for his work ethic, and unparalleled willing-
ness to walk precincts and talk to voters. Mary Salas’ #1 intangible
is her Gender: in most Democrat primaries, 55 to 60% of ballots are
cast by women, and they often lean to women candidates.
So… pull up a chair, pop some popcorn, and prepare to enjoy what
should be a Grand Show in Senate District 40. If Las Vegas made
election betting lines, this one would be “11 to 10, you pick ’em”.