Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown makes rare legislative endorsement – taps Bill Dodd in Yolo Senate race

Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, during session at the Capitol on March 26, 2015.
Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, during session at the Capitol on March 26, 2015. The Sacramento Bee file

Assemblyman Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat, received a rare endorsement Thursday from Gov. Jerry Brown in his intraparty race for an open state Senate seat.

“Bill Dodd will help me balance the state’s budget and find additional funds for our schools,” Brown said in a statement. “Bill is a leader who works with everyone – I’m glad to endorse him for state Senate.”

Dodd is running against former Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada of Davis to succeed termed-out Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, in the largely agricultural district stretching from Yolo to Sonoma counties. Dodd won June’s four-candidate primary, with 37 percent of the vote to Yamada’s 30 percent, and he leads her in fundraising. Since July 1, Dodd has collected more than $110,000, compared to the $42,000 Yamada’s campaign says it has raised.

“While the governor and I may not agree on every issue, I respect his judgment, leadership and experience immensely,” Dodd said in a statement Thursday. “I’m looking forward to working together with him to continue moving California in the right direction, and I’m grateful for his support.”

Brown has thrown his weight behind only a handful of candidates this year, including Kamala Harris, a political ally running for U.S. Senate. His recommendation is another boost for Dodd, a former Republican, whose broad political appeal and significant financial backing from the business community made him a front-runner in the 3rd Senate District race.

In a statement, Yamada said voters “need leaders who will fight for working families, not wealthy corporations,” pointing to Dodd’s recent vote against a bill to bring farmworker overtime pay in line with the rest of the state.

“While I have enormous respect for Governor Brown, this doesn’t change the reality that Dodd continues to side with corporate special interests instead of the people in this district,” she said.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff