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Rowe Quits 78th Assembly Race in Bid for Republican Unity

Republican lawyer Helen Rowe withdrew from the special 78th Assembly District race Friday, continuing the party’s bid to unify its efforts to ensure that Democrat Mike Gotch does not win election outright in next month’s primary in San Diego.

Rowe, one of the three Republicans in the eight-candidate race, said that her decision to drop out of the April 10 race and back fellow GOP contender Jeff Marston stemmed from the county Republican Assembly delegation’s earlier endorsement of Marston. Insurance broker Jane Ramshaw is the third Republican in the contest.

“In January, I told party leaders that I thought it was in the best interests of the party to choose one of us,” Rowe said. “They did that by choosing Jeff Marston. That was a clear signal to me that they agreed with my strategy but didn’t think I was the one who could could carry the day.”

On Thursday, Marston, a one-time aide to former San Diego City Council member Gloria McColl and former Sen. S. I. Hayakawa (R-Calif.), was endorsed by the county’s four-member GOP Assembly delegation--Robert Frazee of Carlsbad, Sunny Mojonnier of Encinitas, Tricia Hunter of Bonita and Carol Bentley of El Cajon.

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Though Rowe’s name will remain on the ballot, she intends to “try to unring the bell as best I can” to ensure that her supporters do not waste their votes on her but rather redirect their ballots to Marston.

Under the unorthodox procedures governing special elections, all candidates of all parties will appear on a single ballot in next month’s primary. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote--a percentage that only former San Diego City Councilman Gotch is thought to have even a slim chance of surpassing--the top vote-getters of each party will compete in a June runoff for the Assembly seat vacated by Democrat Lucy Killea’s election to the state Senate in December.


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