The race in a newly created state Assembly district that encompasses part of Sonoma County and all of Marin County is starting to heat up in one of the few contests statewide to feature two Democrats running against each other.
Assemblyman Michael Allen and his challenger, Marc Levine, earned the right to compete for the 10th Assembly District under California's new top-two primary system.
The race has gained attention in part because it is one of about two dozen in the state pitting members of the same party against one another in the general election on Nov. 6.
Allen, a former union leader who has risen quickly through the ranks of power in his first Assembly term to become assistant majority floor leader, has the support of Democratic Party leaders in Sacramento.
The only hope that Levine, a first-term San Rafael city councilman, has to counter that support is to run an "insurgent candidacy," said David McCuan, a political scientist at Sonoma State University.