Portantino forced to hedge

A matchup between Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and state Sen. Carol Liu is probably the last thing the region’s Democrats want to deal with for the 2012 election.

Both are popular in their respective constituencies, and they are longtime allies.

But now a perfect storm of political ingredients have combined to make that competition a very real possibility.

The redrawn 25th District, where Liu would be considered the incumbent, appears to have caught the attention of Portantino, who will be termed out of his own district next year. Having already pledged to not challenge Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) in a congressional bid, that left him with the prospect of going up against longtime Republican Rep. David Dreier.

It’s a path Portantino appeared headed down, complete with fundraising and other campaign hallmarks, but then news emerged this week that he was seeking the endorsement of the Glendale Democratic Club and the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley for the state Senate seat in the 25th District.

Portantino’s camp has declined to comment on the move, but it could very well be a case of hedging. Because these political clubs start endorsement interview months before candidates can officially declare their intentions with state election officials, it forces people like Portantino to keep a hand in as many pots as possible until a decision is made.

Does it benefit the political process to have incumbents and challengers practically bumping into each other before the electioneering season has even begun, just to make sure they’ll have a chair when the music stops? Clearly it does not.

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