Santa Clarita Valley residents can expect to see a lot more of Republican state Senate race contender Todd Zink after he edged out his incumbent opponent last week in the California primary.
Just 1,267 voters separated Zink from longstanding Democrat incumbent Sen. Fran Pavley in California’s state Senate District 27.
He ended up with 57,493 votes, or 50.6 percent of the vote, and she with 56,226 votes, or 49.4 percent, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.
The two will face each other again in the general election in November.
“I was hoping for the best,” Zink said from his home in Westlake Village. “It started out 6 points higher than (Pavley), then it went to two points higher.
“The feeling I have right now is that people want change in Sacramento,” he said, referring to the final numbers. “They want to correct what’s going on in Sacramento,”
Pavley, meanwhile, says she was not surprised at the final election numbers in her district.
“It really wasn’t a surprise because of the primary’s low voter turnout,” she said in a phone interview from her Sacramento office Monday. “It was a historically low voter turnout.
“It will be a far different scenario in November with a lot higher turnout,” she said. “Right now, I’m ramping up for the fall.”
Before the primary, Pavley was a regular visitor to the Santa Clarita Valley — not in a public sense, she said, but in meetings with between 120 and 140 public officials.
Among those here to meet her were Councilwoman Laurene Weste and members of the William S. Hart High School District, she said.
“Meeting was important because it meant getting really caught up on the important issues,” Pavley said.
Right now, the senator is planning more “meet and greets” in an effort to be “brought up to speed on everything.”
Her opponent plans on doing the same.
Zink, a married father of two, is a decorated United States Marine Corps officer and deputy district attorney, running in an election for the first time.
He was just in the Santa Clarita Valley before the weekend, but plans on being out here a lot.
“I will be coming out there regularly and, now that the Assembly race is over,’ he said. “I believe I will be spending more time there. I look forward to meeting the people there.”
A few months after 9/11, his Marine Reserve company from Naval Base Ventura County was activated as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and became part of the only reserve infantry battalion to take part in the march to Baghdad to oust Saddam Hussein.
During that operation, Zink, then a lieutenant colonel, orchestrated close air support missions in the push to Baghdad.
When asked prior to the primary if he agrees to being called the epitome of conservatism, he said: yes.
His squeaky win over Pavley, he said, is still a win which, to him, speaks volumes.
“They believe my experience can tackle the real problems in Sacramento,” he said about voters in the primary.
Last week’s win hasn’t altered his campaign strategy, he said.
“My strategy is getting out to the voters and explaining my experience and the judgment I have obtained through my time in the (U.S.) Marine Corps and the (District Attorney’s) office,” he said.
“And, I also want to make sure voters who are not familiar with my opponent learn about her voting record and really what it has stood for in terms of jobs and how it relates to business.
“Only through balanced policies will California be able to start attracting jobs and retaining jobs,” he said. “My opponent has an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to the environment, where she does not take a balanced approach and, as a result, jobs and businesses are leaving the state.
“It’s really about pointing out her voting record and how she has prioritized her vote which may have been suitable for coastal areas in Santa Monica but perhaps not for the rest of the district.”
Written by Jim Holt
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