The Ventura County Democratic Central Committee has elected former congressional candidate Jill Martinez as its new chairwoman, replacing Oxnard attorney Joe O'Neill, who resigned in order to accommodate a new position teaching constutional law.
The move comes as the party faces a potentially unsettling primary season next year. Already an intense primary campaign is unfolding in the 35th Assembly District, where Susan Jordan and Das Williams each raised about $125,000 in the first half of the year in preparation for a spirited campaign to replace termed-out Assemblyman Pedro Nava.
The seeds for another potential primary fight in the 37th Assembly District -- in which incumbent Republican Audra Strickland will also be termed out -- were also planted at this week's central committee meeting.
Newbury Park schoolteacher Ferial Masry, the three-time party standard-bearer in the Assembly district elections, returned from an extended trip abroad and announced she intends to be a candidate for a fourth time in 2010. Another candidate, Pleasant Valley School District trustee Warren Harwood, has already declared his candidacy. And a third potential candidate, UCLA Prof. Ernest Morrell of Westlake Village, has also expressed interest in running, say party sources.