Sen. Fran Pavley, often mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate in the new, open congressional district in Ventura County, told me this morning she has ruled out running for Congress.
Her decision, coupled with the earlier decision of Rep. Brad Sherman not to move up from the San Fernando Valley to run in the new district, likely opens the door for new Democratic candidates to step forward.
It has already attracted two Democrats, Moorpark City Councilman David Pollock and Westlake Village tennis instructor and businessman David Cruz Thayne, but with Pavley out it can be expected that Supervisor Steve Bennett of Ventura will take a harder look at entering the race. The same might also be true of Assemblywoman Julia Brownley who, although she lives in Santa Monica, represents Port Hueneme and half of Oxnard in the Legislature.
As for Pavley, she said she's still torn between what she called "two good choices" -- either running in the Senate district that includes her longtime in Agoura Hills or the one next door that includes her weekend beach condo in Oxnard. The ultimate decision will depend in large part on whether former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg decides to run in the east Ventura County-west San Fernando Valley district.
Pavley acknowledged that the indecision must be settled fairly quickly, as it affects the plans of Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jason Hodge and former Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson, both of whom are making plans to run in the west Ventura County-Santa Barbara district. She said she hopes to make a decision "sooner, rather than later," and that the unsettled situation should make for "an interesting Labor Day picnic" for Ventura County Democrats.