Originally published by the SF Chronicle.
Few issues divide the top candidates for an open congressional seat in a district that runs from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. Leaving Afghanistan, decriminalizing marijuana and expanding the federal safety net are all easy sells in this district. Assemblyman Jared Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat, stands out as the most Washington-ready in a crowded field.
Huffman, termed out after six years in the Assembly, has a track record on the environment, consumer rights and water policy, issues that recommend him in the deep-green territory of the North Coast. He's the anointed favorite by party leaders and fundraisers, but it's a distinction he's earned with a strong resume.
The district may be California's quirkiest. It contains uber-wealthy Marin County, thousands of acres of prime vineyards, miles of depleted salmon rivers, and the dirt-poor backcountry in the far north. Its biggest cash crop is marijuana, and there are more American Indian tribes than anywhere else in the state.
Balancing all this will take broad knowledge and understanding, which Huffman brings to the job along with a moderate and tempered outlook. If that sounds tame, consider his willingness to break with the pack when warranted. He adamantly opposes a 3,000-slot Indian casino in Rohnert Park, a stance that none of the other major candidates was willing to take in a debate sponsored by gambling-minded tribes.
The longtime incumbent, Lynn Woolsey, who is retiring after 20 years, represented much of the district. Under new election rules, the top two vote-getters regardless of party will square off in November.
With Huffman considered the front-runner, the real fight is over the second spot. In this tier, the major contenders are Susan Adams, a veteran Marin County supervisor and public-health nursing professor who is a skilled and engaging candidate; Norman Solomon, a progressive writer with a national following; and Stacey Lawson, a tech entrepreneur and educator with a thin political resume.
Huffman has shown the legislative depth and savvy required to succeed on Capitol Hill. He gets our endorsement in the June 5 primary.
Read the original article here.