Addis to Run Again for State Assembly

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

November 18, 2021

Morro Bay Councilwoman Dawn Addis will try once again to move up the political ladder, announcing Nov. 11 that she was running again for State Assembly in 2022.

Addis, a first term City Councilwoman and a Progressive Democrat, tried unsuccessfully in 2020 to unseat incumbent Assemblyman and Republican, Jordan Cunningham for the 35th Assembly seat.

n a news release on her candidacy, Addis said, “I believe our communities deserve leadership that reflects our values and commitment to solving the challenges we face. Climate change is a real and present danger to the Central Coast. Drought, wildfires, habitat loss, and coastal erosion threaten our way of life.”

Addis, who is a local teacher by profession, is also a political activist and co-founding member of Women’s March San Luis Obispo, a political organization formed in 2017 after the election of President Donald Trump, and working to encourage and support women candidates for office, as well as women’s, environmental and social justice causes.

“If elected,” she said, “I will fight every day to protect and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods, advance equity and justice in public policy, create jobs that pay a living wage, and protect the most vulnerable among us. I believe that housing, health care, and education are human rights, and that as one of the most prosperous states in the most prosperous nation in the world, we can afford to meet the basic needs of every Californian.”
She said her work as a teacher, councilwoman and married mother of two boys makes her well suited for the job. “I believe that my experiences, as a councilmember, a classroom teacher, and a mom, have prepared me for the work ahead. I look forward to talking to thousands of residents in the coming months, and starting a conversation about the future of our state.”

Assemblyman Cunningham was asked for comment on the rematch with Addis and Matt Rexroad from the Cunningham for Assembly Campaign didn’t pull punches. “In the highest turnout election in history, Central Coast voters made it clear that they wanted an Assembly member who would fight for a more affordable Central Coast.

“Dawn Addis announced on draft district maps. That alone shows she is inexperienced and unable to effectively represent the Central Coast in the Assembly. We need thoughtful and intelligent leadership. And we don’t need higher taxes, which she has a record of supporting. The Central Coast is expensive enough already.”

In the 2020 election Addis garnered over 103,000 votes in her loss to Cunningham (55% to 45%), who is seeking re-election to a fourth term. But the political landscape in 2022 is likely to be very different, as the California Redistricting Commission works on redrawing state Assembly and Senate district boundaries, as well as congressional districts. And the preliminary maps the Commission released last week show marked changes here.
Currently, Assembly District 35 includes all of SLO County and Northern Santa Barbara County (Santa Maria to Lompoc). If the draft maps released by the Commission hold, the new Assembly district would start in Santa Cruz to the north, follow the Coastline down to include Monterey and Carmel, and all of SLO County down to the Santa Maria River (the county Line).

That would swap out the more-conservative area of Northern Santa Barbara County and bring in the decidedly more liberal and Democratic communities of the Monterey Bay area.

The new “Monterey Coast District” as it’s being labeled by the Commission, would have a total population of 477,032 with some 360,819 voters, according to the Commission’s website.

But the re-districting is not completed, as the Commission is currently taking public comments on its new divisions. Some folks are upset at the draft maps.

According to a Nov. 10 story on CalMatters.org, the commission’s “foremost duty is to ensure every district in the state — 52 for Congress, 80 for state Assembly and 40 for state Senate — has about the same number of people. That’s about 761,000 Californians in each congressional district, about 988,000 in state senate districts and 494,000 in Assembly districts. That can get complicated fast while trying to meet other requirements, such as not diluting any ethnic group’s vote and keeping districts geographically compact.”

And for the first time ever, California’s population actually dropped from the 2010 to 2020 Census.
“It’s even more complex this year,” the article continues, “because California is losing a congressional seat for the first time ever — and much of the tension centers on those maps. A series of marathon and at-times confusing meetings isn’t helping matters, either.”

If she does well in the Assembly race, Addis might have to forego a re-election bid for city council. First elected in 2018 to a 4-year term, she would have to run for re-election in November 2022 to stay on the Council.

With State offices, the top two vote getters in the Primary — even if there are just two candidates or both are from the same party — go into a run-off in November. That’s what happened in 2020, as Addis finished behind Cunningham in the March Primary and they faced off again at the November Presidential Election.

She would have to give up her council seat if she’s still in the running next November, as the City’s election ordinance says that anyone seeking higher office can’t also run for city council in the same election.

It’s also possible that this redrawn district will bring people out of Monterey, Carmel or Santa Cruz to challenge for the seat, with three or even more candidates possible in the June Primary.

If Addis doesn’t make the November runoff, she would be eligible to run for city council again.

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