While the surging Tea Party threatens a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, Democrats on the Central Coast face a nasty fight of their own.
In what was once the safest of seats, termed-out Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, seems unlikely to support his one-time protege, Das Williams. Williams, a Santa Barbara city councilman, beat Nava’s wife, Susan Jordan, in a particularly hard-fought and personal primary.
The GOP side is a different story. Mike Stoker, a veteran politician, a moderate and hardly a Tea Party poster child, won the primary easily. Since then he’s been winning endorsements and chipping away at Williams’ advantage in voter registration.
There’s energy on the Republican side of the ledger this year, and though the odds are still long, the 35th District represents a rare chance for the GOP to pick up an open seat. What looked like a slam dunk for Democrats has become a race worth watching.