Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg’s statement that he was pondering a run for the state Senate against an incumbent Democrat Fran Pavley brought a swift response from Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, who said his ruling caucus backed Pavley.
Hertzberg said he was considering entering the contest to head off a challenge by Republican Tony Strickland, who also is eyeing the newly drawn 27th Senate District.
“I’m looking at it,” Hertzberg told Capitol Weekly, “for the purpose of helping the (Senate) Democratic Caucus.” Hertzberg has endorsed Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, in the past.
Hertzberg, an attorney with the L.A. firm of Mayer Brown and a leading member of government reform efforts in Sacramento, has been in discussions with Democratic leaders in the Capitol about entering the race. A final decision has not yet been made, Hertzberg said.
The contest in the 27th District is another in a series of confrontations prompted by the configuration of districts crafted by the voter-approved Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission, which drew legislative and congressional boundaries for the 2012 elections.
Parts of Strickland’s 19th District and Pavley’s 23rdDistrict overlap, setting up a potential showdown in the 27th. Pavley has announced she intends to run, Strickland has not yet formally announced.
Steinberg, D-Sacramento, in an email obtained by the L.A. Times, said he did “not believe Bob would in fact run against our colleague Senator Pavley, I want to state the following so that there is no misunderstanding.
Our caucus stands wholeheartedly and enthusiastically behind Fran Pavley in the 27th Senate district.”
Ironically, Steinberg earlier urged Hertzberg to run for the post against Strickland, R-Moorpark, in a newly drawn competitive district that includes the western part of the San Fernando Valley and coastal communities including Malibu.
Pavley was expected to move to a more solidly Democratic district, allowing Hertzberg, moderate, to run in a competitive race against Strickland. Pavley, however, has since decided not to move.