Ventura County has already seen one instance of a wife succeeding her husband in the state Assembly -- Audra Strickland, who was elected in 2002 after her husband, Tony, was termed out -- and now there could be a second.
Susan Jordan, executive director of the environmental group California Coastal Protection Network and wife of Assemblyman Pedro Nava, told me today she is "seriously considering" running for the Santa Barbara-Ventura County seat when Nava is termed out in 2010.
Jordan says that one Democrat who had widely been considered a potential candidate, Santa Barbara City Councilman Das Williams, would support her and delay his own ambitions if she decides to run. She notes that she has known and worked with Williams "longer than I've known Pedro."
Jordan, who lived in Manhattan Beach when she helped found the nonprofit advocacy group Vote the Coast, says she was previously asked to consider running for the Assembly in 1998, when former Assemblywoman Debra Bowen (now secretary of state) moved up to the Senate. She's no newcomer to the political scene, and is an active and energetic advocate for coastal environmental issues before the Legislature and various state agencies.
Spousal succession is an increasingly common phenomenon in the era of term limits. In addition to the Stricklands, Sen. George Runner was succeeded by his wife, Sharon. Mike Eng of Monterey Park succeeded his wife, Judy Chu.
It doesn't always work, however. Just in June, Becky Maze lost a Republican primary in an attempt to keep husband Bill's Assembly job in the family.