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Stockton, California. (RPM)

2020 March Primary Preview: 13th State Assembly District

California Globe takes an inside look into the 13th State Assembly District primary race.

By Evan Symon, January 29, 2020 6:27 pm

The 13th State Assembly District:

The 13th Assembly District is comprised of the lion’s share of San Joaquin County. It’s Stockton, the suburbs, and a bit of the countryside. Ever since the 13th District was formed in 2012 it has been a Democratic stronghold thanks to being Bay Area adjacent and having a growing population of ex-Bay Area residents fleeing high rents.

Major national and state races also carry a big Democrat swing. Newsom grabbed a 20% voting margin against Cox during the 2018 Governor race, with Clinton managing a 32% margin against Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, 63% to 31%. Democrats currently have half the voting block while only 1 out of 4 voters is a Republican here. It shows.

History of the 13th:

Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Being only 8 years old and being a heavy Democratic district, there’s not too much to say history-wise.

Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) has been the only Assemblymember ever in the district since being elected in 2012 after serving on the Stockton City Council.

Races have been fairly predictable. Eggman would get around 50% of the vote in the primary with the leading Republican coming in second with between 20% to 30% depending on if there is another challenger. Then she’d win in the general election with 60-65% of the vote. That’s been pattern.

However, with a state Senate seat open due to Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) not being able to run again due to term limits, Eggman is leaving to run there. For only the second time in its history the district is wide open. Republicans don’t have a candidate in this race, meaning it’s a three-way primary fight for those on the same team.

Kathy Miller:

Chairwoman of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Kathy Miller. (Wikipedia)

The current favorite is Chairwoman of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Kathy Miller. Before that Miller was on the Stockton City Council and was Vice Mayor for four years. Miller has also been involved with numerous water and health care agencies around the county, led a countywide homeless task force, and was the Second Vice President of the League of California Cities. She has played a part in working on many issues and concerns around Stockton and San Joaquin County since the late 90’s.

While recently she has been working on homelessness and crime in the county, she also did face heat a few years ago for voting to move the role of coroner from the Sheriff to a new county Medical Examiner’s Office. Other than that, she has had a surprisingly spotless run as Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors.

Currently running thanks to a suggestion from Assemblywoman Eggman herself, she currently has the endorsements of the the Democratic party, several state Assemblymembers and Senators, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and dozens of city city officials form around the district.

Christina Fugazi:

Stockton Councilwoman Christina Fugazi. (Twitter)

A more moderate Democrat, Christina Fugazi also comes into the race with deep roots in Stockton and the County. As the Stockton City Planning Commissioner in the late ’00s and early ’10s, Fugazi made a name for herself when she managed to save the city’s last open agricultural swath of land from development that would have fallen apart during the ensuing recession and city bankruptcy.

Since 2016 she has been a member of the Stockton City Council. As a city Councilwoman she has voted against Mayor Tubbs numerous times, most notably in his Universal Income pilot program, which has to-date encountered many flaws.

Invested heavily in homeless, city planning, public safety, and environmental issues, Fugazi comes in with less endorsements than Miller but by far more support from labor unions and the public safety sector, along with some high-profile names. Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis is a supporter, as is the California Labor Federation (CLF), the AFL-CIO, firefighter unions and the Sheriff of San Joaquin County.

Carlos Villapudua:

Former San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua. (Ballotpedia)

Also running is another former member of the County Board of Supervisors, Carlos Villapudua. On the Board from 2008 to 2016, Villapudua worked with Miller and others to save the County General Hospital. Currently the only candidate not in elected office as a Governmental Relations Manager for Western Pacific Truck School, Villapudua managed to surprise some party leaders with another run for office.

Villapudua focuses more on issues that the other candidates haven’t been promoting as much, such as what measures should be taken against PG&E for their role in the wildfires and blackouts, and promoting tax-free school supplies.

Despite also boasting a elected track record like Miller and Fugazi, he comes in with the fewest endorsements, only picking up two Assemblymen, Tracy Mayor Robert Rickman, and a handful of city groups and city leaders. He does have the powerful California Teachers Association though, which can prove to be big in the latter stages of the elections.

What does this mean?:

The 13th will be Democratic no matter what. That’s a given. But what it boils down to is if the district wants a traditional California Democrat or if they want someone more to the center.

Eggman’s exit has really shook things up, and it could prove to be a close race. Miller is by far the preferred candidate by the party due to her history in the area, her experience, and this possibly being her ‘sunset’ post. Fugazi will most likely get second thanks to her large base of support in Stockton, although Villapudua may end up grabbing a significant share.

Either way, Miller is going to grab the more liberal voters while Fugazi and Villapudua are going to appeal to more moderate Democrats as well as the 25% chunk of Republicans who want a more moderate candidate after 8 years of Assemblywoman Eggman in Sacramento.

It’s going to be Miller vs. the Moderate. And due to the district’s political demographics, Miller may wind up going more centrist on some issues as November nears. Stockton may be blue, but they run dead even with the combined amount of moderate and conservative voters.

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