Vote early, vote often might be the motto for this spring's special election to fill Tom Campbell's vacated state Senate seat. That's because on March 26, voters will get two chances to choose Campbell's replacement.
One space on the ballot will allow all voters to choose Campbell's immediate replacement for the 11th District Senate seat. The candidates are Assembly Democrat Byron Sher and Republican Patrick Shannon. The winner of that vote will take office right away and serve out the remainder of Campbell's term, which ends Dec. 31.
A second vote on the same ballot will ask members of each party to pick their nominee for November's general election. The winners of that vote will square off in the November general election. Sher and Shannon are again the only Democrat and Republican candidates.
Campbell resigned his Senate seat last month after winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sher, D-Palo Alto, a Stanford law professor since 1957, represents the 21st District Assembly seat, which includes El Granada, Half Moon Bay and the South Coast. Term limits are forcing him out of the seat.
During his eight terms in the Assembly, Sher has cultivated a reputation as one of the Legislature's top environmentalists, authoring clean water and air legislation, as well as laws to prohibit offshore oil drilling. He has also authored legislation to streamline the California Environmental Quality Act.
Shannon, 31, of Redwood City, recently resigned as Gov. Wilson's policy director for the Bay Area to run for office. He holds a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master's degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from Stanford.
Shannon wrote the text for two initiatives that will appear on the March ballot: Proposition 195, which would authorize the death penalty for a carjack killing or for the murder of a juror; and Proposition 196, which would authorize the death penalty for those who commit drive-by murders.
In an unrelated matter, state Sen. Quentin Kopp, I-San Francisco, whose district includes part of the Mid-Coast, has offered to assist constituents in Campbell's district while they are without representation. Kopp said his office would be available to "answer questions respecting state agency actions, accept suggestions and opinions respecting state legislative and administrative issues and furnish assistance to residents and business owners relative to state governmental matters."
The telephone number for Kopp's local office is 952-5666. He may also be reached at his Sacramento office at (916) 445-0503.