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Levine Holds Edge on Allen in Tight State Assembly Race

San Rafael Democrat hangs on after late vote tallies from Sonoma County closed his lead.

Despite a substantial fundraising disadvantage, San Rafael City Councilman Marc Levine narrowly edged Michael Allen Tuesday night in the race to represent the 10th District in the State Assembly.

Levine garnered 68,189 votes, or 50.6 percent of the votes cast, to Allen's 66,526, or 49.4 percent.

"I'm very proud of our campaign and we're cautiously optimistic," Levine said at his election night party Tuesday night before final Sonoma County tallies came in around 1:20 a.m. and sealed his advantage.

Levine faced a powerful sitting assemblyman in Allen, who represented the 7th District that included Napa County as well as parts of Sonoma and Solano counties until it was splintered by redistricting, prompting Allen to move to downtown San Rafael to run.

Levine had built a solid lead in Marin, holding a 52-48 advantage. Although Levine's campaign contributions were a fraction of Allen's, the councilman stayed just ahead of the assemblyman by the end of the evening.

"I don't think anyone believed we'd be this competitive," Levine said. "I'm proud that we've given the voters of Marin and Sonoma a choice."

Allen received more than $1.4 million in campaign contributions, including $700,000 from independent expenditure committees. Levine only raised $253,000 in contributions and over $250,000 from independent expenditure committees.

Both candidates are Democrats and vied for endorsements. Allen focused on his experience with solving problems in the legislature during his campaign, while Levine zeroed in on the changes the he could bring to state government.

"I think it was interesting that since both candidates were Democrats, their opponents tried to make them look Republican," Lane Kasselman said at a party in support of Levine.

Kasselman was referring to the recent storm of campaign mailers that filled voters' mailboxes leading up to the election. After Allen got the California Democratic Party's endorsement, the organization portrayed Levine as a closeted Republican with backing from agri-businesses that pollute. On the cover of one mailer, the Democrat's donkey hides Levine's face with the phrase "Someone's masking who he really is."

At the Marin Democratic Party Headquarters in San Rafael, Allen and newly-elected congressman Jared Huffman celebrated the election results with more than 250 people.

"Michael Allen will be your next assemblyman," Huffman said. "Those votes will come in."

Levine celebrated the end of his campaign with a small group of friends at Aurora Art Studios on 1350 Fourth St.

"I want to thank my wife, Wendy, who's been a source of strength through this," Levine said.

Bob Ratto November 07, 2012 at 03:03 PM
This one is really a shocker. With Allen having unlimited money courtesy of the Democrat party, this upset is actually really encouraging.
Michael November 07, 2012 at 04:35 PM
a rare event in Marin County when political sanity prevails. Allen the carpetbagger will now move on to look for a new community to call his own. Perhaps he can hold out long enough to apply for a conductor's job on the smart train he supported for his Sonoma supporters. Good luck Mark Levine
Patrick Bergin November 07, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Congratulations to Assemblyman-elect Marc Levine!
Al Dugan November 07, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Great job Marc, against all odds and with great courage. This is the carney in the mine for many entrenched and embedded politicians in the cities and counties of Marin. People are waking up and will be holding you accountable for your past record and your views of the future. Glad I could help out.
craig thomas November 07, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Congratulations California, hello to quality follow up Huffman do exercise quality outreach with your Gentlemen ship and do give helping hand to Marc Levine clue him in to all those children still in office of the Assembly today.
Abihail Baroj November 07, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Darn. I knew I should have been nicer to him on those candidates nights. Rats.
Nicole Ely (Editor) November 07, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Thanks for your comments everyone. Just so everyone knows, there still are some provisional ballots that have to be counted and Allen has not conceded yet. But Levine is in the lead with 1,663 votes. We'll keep you updated about the provisional ballots.
John Parnell November 07, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Mr. Allen may not have conceded yet, but Mr. Levine won. Speaker Perez has already called Marc to congratulate him, so I think that speaks worlds more than Mr. Allen's lack of a concession speech. This is a huge win for the people of Marin & Sonoma. It shows that others can't buy our seat in Sacramento - we still get to choose who represents us.
john daniels November 08, 2012 at 01:10 AM
It appears to me that the vote for Levine was really a vote against the public employee unions that dominate Sacramento and Mr Allen who only acted to delay pension reform in the interest of the union members and against the interests of the taxpayers that are being ripped off. The voters of San Jose, San Diego, and now Marin/Sonoma have spoken. We are fed up with union greed, spin,and their huge war chests. Mr Huffman should take note.
Mark Leach November 08, 2012 at 04:45 AM
My guess is that Allen's attempt to paint Levine as a Republican back fired. He basically told the Republicans to vote for Levine. Since about 25% of the voters in Marin are Republicans, Levine only needed a small portion of the Democratic votes to win. This crazy system we have now will allow the Republicans in our heavily Democratic district to dictate a win for the most conservative Democrat. Mark
marissa November 14, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Congratulations Marc, your David besting Goliath campaign gives me hope that voters can see past the shameless (and really cheesy) propoganda to the underlying people and issues at stake. Shame on Sierra Club and Huffman for cutting deals with Sacramento. Hurray for informed electorate!

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