California Senate Seat Feud Over as Block Ends Reelection Bid

toni atkins and marty block

California Senator Marty Block will not seek reelection leaving his 39th District seat open for fellow-Democrat Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.

Block announced his decision Thursday months after Atkins publicly announced she was running for his seat.

The two Democrats disagreed over whether Block was stepping aside to let the speaker take his district before she terms out of the Assembly in late 2016.

Atkins said Block told her long ago he wouldn't run for re-election after his first term. He claims he never promised that.

Block told NBC 7 he decided not to run for the seat after three debates last week with Atkins. He said he believes he won all three debates but it became clear to him that he and Atkins share the same philosophies

"If Toni wants to pick up the mantel now and run with it, she can," Block told NBC 7.

Block said he still has 10 months left to his term. He’s served in elected office for 24 years including 10 in the legislature.

An attorney, Block said he will be announcing his next steps in the near future. Chances are it will have something to do with higher education.

Mickey Kasparian, President of the UFCW Local 135 described Block as an outstanding public servant.

“He has always put his constituents first. His decision today to unify the Democratic Party is another example of his strong leadership,” Kasparian said.

Francine Busby, Chair of the San Diego Democratic Party, did not yet return a request for comment.

Before Block's announcement, she repeatedly lamented that two Democrats were wasting resources running against each other and creating inter-party infighting. 

State Senate races often fly under media radar, but one here in San Diego is now shaping up to be personal among Democrats. It’s getting attention all the way to Sacramento. NBC 7’s Gene Cubbison has the scoop on the early sizeup.
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