Assembly District 7 saw a 24.2 percent turnout in June’s top-two primary, a drop from the 28.6 percent turnout it had in the 2010 primary. A plurality of the voting population in the district, in which the state capital is located, are Democrats (43.4%), which is part of the reason why voters will choose between two Democratic city council members, Kevin McCarty and Steve Cohn, in November.
Cohn, who is leaving the Sacramento City Council after serving for 20 years, is making a case to voters that there is more to him than just a party label.“Unlike my opponent, Mr. McCarty, I don’t advertise being a Democrat on my lawn signs because I’m trying to appeal to independents and Republicans, as well as Democrats,” he said.
His opponent, who is also on the Sacramento City Council and was once the Assembly budget consultant for Assemblymember Denise Moreno Ducheny, believes the race is about more than just reaching the 56.6 percent of voters who are not registered with the Democrat Party.
“There are many issues that cross party lines, and it is important to let voters know where I stand on those issues,” McCarty said.
Both candidates share similar political resumes and agree on many issues. However, a major local issue that has distinguished these two candidates is where they stand on Sacramento’s new arena for the Sacramento Kings.
When asked about the issue, Cohn said, “I think my support for the new downtown arena is very beneficial to the campaign, and beneficial to the Sacramento region."
"This is a project that is about more than sports and is bringing 11,000 temporary construction jobs and 4,100 new permanent jobs to our region, and is revitalizing Downtown Sacramento,” he added.
Weighing the cost rather than the jobs, McCarty said:
“The arena is a great example of an issue that resonates with constituents from different political parties, like independents. These voters are concerned with the fiscal impacts of the arena and believe as I do, that a $700 million subsidy is a risk that our city should not be taking.” - Kevin McCarty
In a final appeal to voters outside the Democratic Party, Cohn said, “I am a moderate who has spent his career bringing people together, from different backgrounds, places, and ideologies, to tackle the toughest issues that we are facing. In contrast, my opponent is a very liberal and partisan Democrat, which is why he got the Democratic Party endorsement.”
McCarty simply replied, “Please don’t forget to vote on November 4!”
This Sacramento district will choose between Cohn’s emphasis on city projects and investments or McCarty’s approach to resources and public/private partnerships. The question is whether or not they will be able to get the 43.4 percent of registered Democrats and the 56.6 percent of voters who are not registered with the party to turn out and vote in this same-party race.
Image: Kevin McCarty (left), Steve Cohn (right)