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Redistricting gives incumbent state senator tough reelection campaign in San Fernando Valley

State Sen. Fran Pavley is facing a tough reelection against Republican challenger Todd Zink.
State Sen. Fran Pavley is facing a tough reelection against Republican challenger Todd Zink.
Pavley Campaign; Zink Campaign

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In the western part of the San Fernando Valley, state Sen. Fran Pavley faces a tough reelection campaign as a result of the recent redistricting process that left her with a more conservative district.

Pavley, a Democrat, was elected to the 23rd District in 2008. She is running for reelection in the 27th District, which now includes parts of Ventura County. With Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks in the district, Pavley has to court voters who are not used to being represented by a Democrat.

“I thought it would be just sort of a victory lap around my old district for my last time that I’m running for office,” Pavley said. “Instead these redistricting lines caused a dramatic shift in my original plans.”

The senator finished second in the primary behind Republican Todd Zink, a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Pavley easily won over voters in Los Angeles County, but she lost Ventura County by 11,000 votes – even though the entire district has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

This is Zink’s first pass at public office. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve who spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

“I believe my platform appeals to people of both parties, and independents as well,” Zink said.  “In listening to people, you get a sense of their frustrations with California and I think they feel we’re just not on the right track. 

Pavley raised $1.2 million for her campaign between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30. The Zink campaign raised $950,000. The race is an important one for both parties because the Democrats are two seats away from a super-majority in the state Senate – something that hasn’t happened since the 1960s.

“We have a two-thirds super-majority in play at the state Senate and that’s not necessarily healthy, for any party to be in absolute control that really is unchecked, not only by the other party but unchecked even by the governor,” Zink said.

Election Day is Nov. 6.