Falling short

Tracie Stafford campaign manager says inter-party challenges from progressive candidates keep California’s Democratic majority honest

For Sacramento County progressives, the ground that Sen. Bernie Sanders lost on Super Tuesday wasn’t the only thing to fret about: Many had hoped that small business owner and community activist Tracie Stafford could muster enough votes to force a November runoff with Democratic Assemblyman Jim Cooper.

But the latest results suggest the moderate incumbent will instead have to defend his seat against a Republican challenger.

Stafford had 21.1% of the vote, according to the latest election results from the California Secretary of State’s Office. As of Tuesday, Cooper boasted 43.5% of the vote, with retired businessman Eric Rigard next in line at 31.9%. Most of the Republican’s support came from San Joaquin County voters, who favored him at 54.1%.

Rigard said he found plenty of common ground with Democrats and independents on the campaign trail, particularly on the topics of senior housing, combating homelessness and supporting school choice for parents.

Stafford’s campaign manager Amy Champ didn’t want to comment on the results with thousands of votes left to count, but said challenges from the left serve to keep the Democrats honest.

“We need to hold Democratic incumbents accountable,” Champ said. “We can’t be complacent about the fact that we have a Democratic majority, when that majority is diluted by the type of votes and type of funding that these people take.”