Capitol Alert

Freshman Assemblyman Bill Dodd jumps into Senate race

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

Less than halfway into his first Assembly term, Napa Democrat Bill Dodd is jumping into the race for the 3rd Senate District.

Dodd formally announced Monday that he is running to succeed Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, in the Northern California seat encompassing Napa, Solano and most of Yolo counties. Wolk is termed out in 2016.

Jumping between houses was common under the old term limit system, but new rules that allow lawmakers to serve 12 years total were seen as encouraging members to stay put and build power. Dodd may lose two years in the Legislature if his bid is successful, but he said he sees more opportunity for leadership with the smaller size of the Senate.

“It's something that I'm willing to risk, because I didn't come to Sacramento to not get things done,” he said.

Dodd, a longtime Napa County supervisor, was elected to the Assembly in 2014 in a high-dollar affair. Business interests helped lift him over a crowded field, including Wolk’s son, Dan Wolk.

He will face former Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, a Davis Democrat, for the Senate seat. With Republican voters scarce in the district, it’s possible that the election could come down to an intraparty battle between the liberal Yamada and Dodd, a former Republican.

Dodd said he can win with the broad appeal of his socially liberal and fiscally moderate approach, including a focus on topics like gender pay equity, more funding for California’s public universities and improved care for senior citizens.

“I can work with the progressive Democrats on many of their issues and at the same time work hard to provide a more prudent fiscal policy for the state following our governor's example,” he said.

His announcement comes with the endorsements of Wolk and local Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena.

Late Monday, Dan Wolk confirmed in an e-mail to supporters that he would make a second run at the 4th Assembly District seat being vacated by Dodd. Wolk, a Democrat, is the mayor of Davis and a deputy county counsel of Solano County.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 4:30 p.m. July 20 to reflect Dan Wolk’s Assembly candidacy announcement.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff