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Christine Kehoe

Democratic clash: Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins to challenge Sen. Marty Block

Democratic clash: Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins to challenge Sen. Marty Block

As her tenure as Assembly speaker winds to a close, Toni Atkins is preparing for her next major political battle: intra-party combat.

Atkins is taking on state Sen. Marty Block for his San Diego seat, a highly unusual challenge in a political culture that privileges — and fiercely protects — incumbents.

“Absolutely it makes me uncomfortable,” Atkins told The Times. “Will I be prepared to do it? Absolutely.”

The brewing showdown could cause fractures not just in local San Diego Democratic politics, but in the state Capitol, escalating a long-simmering rivalry between the Senate and Assembly that persists even as...

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