Sandre Swanson drops 2012 state Senate bid

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson has abandoned his challenge to fellow Democrat state Sen. Loni Hancock.

“I finally concluded that, setting all misunderstandings aside, that it’s the best interests of our community not to have a major Democrat-on-Democrat campaign when we’re trying to win a two-thirds majority in the Senate,” Swanson, D-Alameda, said a few minutes ago. “It’s much better for our meager resources to be used in trying to get a two-thirds majority.”

Swanson said this past weekend’s pre-endorsement conference, in which local Democrats overwhelmingly chose Hancock, D-Berkeley, over him, “really didn’t” affect his decision; incumbents who represent the party’s values almost always win such votes, he said. And he acknowledged, as he has in the past, that he and Hancock agree on most issues.

Swanson, who’ll be term-limited out of the Assembly at this year’s end, had jumped into the race after redistricting confirmed he would be eligible, even though he’d initially said he wouldn’t run against his longtime ally. Senate Democrats quickly rolled out their support for Hancock.

Now he’s endorsing her for 2012, and she – in a news release issued by Senate Democrats late this afternoon – is endorsing him to succeed her in 2016. Read that release in its entirety, after the jump…

In the spirit of unity and building a better future for California, Senate Democrats have announced that Senator Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Sandre Swanson will work together in 2012 and into the future.

“As Democrats, we must come together to work for the good of all Californians,” said Assemblymember Sandre Swanson. “2012 provides an incredible opportunity for us to achieve a supermajority in the State Senate and that must be every Democrat’s top priority. That is why I have decided to endorse Loni Hancock for election to the 9th State Senate district, and I will continue my campaign for election to succeed her in 2016. Senator Hancock and I have not only served together but have known each other, personally, for many years. I know she will continue to work hard for our community and the state as a whole.”

Saying she is honored to receive the support of Assemblymember Swanson, Hancock said, “Assemblymember Swnason is a longtime leader here in our community and has been a strong advocate for us in Sacramento.”

Senator Hancock said she is extremely pleased that Swanson intends to continue his career in public service. “I endorse Sandre Swanson in his effort to run for the 9th Senate District in 2016,” said Hancock. “If I am fortunate enough to be re-elected, I can’t think of a better person to succeed me in the Senate. Senate Democrats have the possibility of reaching a two-thirds majority in the Senate this year. Nothing is more important than having Democrats come together for the greater good.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.