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Marin finally may elect a liberal

In the week before the June 6 primary, Jared Huffman and several supporters
stood outside every evening show of An Inconvenient Truth at the Sequoia
Theater in downtown Mill Valley, shaking hands and passing out literature.
Huffman went on to win a six-way Democratic primary in Marin’s 6th Assembly
District.

“Having just been focused on what is probably the issue of our lifetimes,
and being exhorted by Al Gore to support candidates who are going to act on
this issue, to have a chance to meet me as they walk out the exit door and
have a chance to vote in several days, people were very energized,” Huffman
said. “I have no doubt that we picked up several hundred votes.”

Huffman credits the idea to two of his campaign staffers–Mary Cermak and
Sherry Reson–and estimates he and his supporters met up to 5,000 people. His
margin of victory was only 3,026 votes, out of almost 70,000 cast.

We’ll never know whether piggybacking on Gore’s conveniently timed
documentary put Huffman over the top. But Huffman seems to have come up with
a winning strategy in Marin: Rather than a moderate–such as the district’s
current Assemblyman, Joe Nation–surviving while the liberals pick each other
off, Huffman won race by emerging as the environmentalists’ choice.

This isn’t necessarily easy in a district where Huffman’s Republican
opponent in November, physician Michael Hartnett, espouses stronger
environmental views than many Democrats from other areas. Among other
positions, Hartnett favors harsh new penalties for polluters.

But that can hardly compare to Huffman’s status as a senior attorney for the
Natural Resource Defense Council, his 11 years on the Marin Municipal Water
District board, and his endorsement by six leading environmental
organizations, including the Sierra Club.

“This is an extremely environmental district, and he has the resume,” said
Greg Brockbank, a former candidate in the race who dropped out last December
to support Huffman.

Huffman will have a chance to step into a term-limits void on global
warming. This cause’s two most active supporters in the Legislature–Nation
and Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills–are about to finish their six
years in the Assembly.

“No one else has really stepped up,” Nation said, then added, “Jared will be
very active on this issue.”

Huffman said his first moves in the Assembly likely will depend on the fate
of AB 32. The bill, authored by Pavley and Speaker Fabian N

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