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Richard Pan, Tony Amador aim for a November showdown

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Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 10:19 am, Tue Jun 12, 2012.

A former U.S. marshal who lives in Lodi is facing off with a current assemblyman and pediatrician for the newly redrawn 9th Assembly District seat.

Democrat Richard Pan of Sacramento received 19,483 votes, or 38.2 percent of the vote, during the primary election last Tuesday. Republican Tony Amador of Lodi came in second with 9,997 votes, or 19.6 percent.

Now, both candidates are looking toward November.

Pan was a pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital before being elected to the state Assembly in the 5th District two years ago. After redistricting, Pan chose to move to the Pocket area of Sacramento and run in the 9th instead of facing Democratic colleague Roger Dickinson.

Spokesman Doug Herman said Pan’s high vote percentage in the primary is because he has always focused on issues important to families in the district.

“I was very comforted by the fact that Dr. Pan was the leading vote-getter in the election, and it speaks to his connection to the people in the community,” Herman said.

Amador served from 2002 to 2009 as a U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of California. He lived in Elk Grove before moving to Lodi, which are both in the district. He also ran for U.S. Congress in June 2010 and for the Lodi City Council in November 2010.

Amador is gearing up for what he describes as a vigorous campaign.

“I’m looking forward to November and getting out my message. If the voters, regardless of party, will compare and contrast the two candidates, they will have a real choice,” he said.

He is encouraged that Pan did not receive 50 percent of the vote in the primary, and Amador said he plans to appeal to Democratic and independent voters as an alternative.

“I appeal to a broader base than he does,” Amador said. “I represent a true independent voice that is not owing to other interests. I scaled down my campaign, and ran a more grassroots campaign than him.”

During the next five months, Pan plans to continue talking about health care issues that affect families and children, as well as improvements in education. One of the biggest challenges for Pan and the Assembly is finding ways to improve the economy, Herman said.

“When we are in a situation where California’s economy is still struggling to come out of the economic crisis, and still have budget deficits, it can be a challenge,” Herman said. “But we are going to take them one at a time and start solving the problems.”

Amador said he will stress the importance of the state being fiscally responsible. He is a fiscal conservative and will make cuts if elected, he said.

“We have an incumbent who wants to give everyone everything and raise taxes, but during his two years in office, he has never demonstrated what he will cut,” Amador said. “My end game is to balance the books. True leadership is being willing to make tough decisions in order to control the state budget.”

One of the challenges will be fundraising, because Pan has a lot of money to put toward the next five months, Amador said.

“If this is one of their favorite districts that is carved out for the liberals, then I should expect to be attacked,” he said. “I’m going to need money to make sure my message gets out and defend any spurious allegations that come out.”

Pan plans to fundraise during the next couple of months as well as reach out to voters, Herman said.

“We are going to run a vigorous campaign, and we will undertake every aspect,” he said. “We will talk to our supporters, hold rallies, go door-to-door, all of the things that are associated with a typical campaign.”

Even though it is a new district, Pan has the voting record to appeal to voters, Herman said.

“In every election there is a choice and a contrast,” Herman said. “We intend to present the choice that Dr. Pan is an advocate for children and their health and fighting for better schools.”

Amador said he is confident that he can win in November.

“I’m convinced that it’s one that can switch to our side, because the folks have spoken over and over again,” Amador said. “There is a centrist group of voters who do not want pure partisanship. They want things to get done.”

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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