All in the Family
Stanford is a sure winner in one of California's hottest state Senate races. That's because both men vying for the 11th district seat that serves Silicon Valley and the Stanford area have strong ties to the University. Patrick Shannon, '86, who was senior class president and a walk-on to the basketball team, is challenging Byron Sher, an emeritus law schoool professor who taught contracts and commercial law here for 34 years.
Sher, 69, a Democrat, touts his 16 years of service in the California State Assembly and his two terms as mayor of Palo Alto. He's campaigning on what he calls the three Es: environment, education and oppositin to political extremism. As a legislator, Sher has earned recognition as the author of numerous bills to protect the state's environment. He hopes to paint Shannon as a radical right-winger.
Shannon, 32, is a pro-business, socially moderate republican. A lawyer and former senior aide to Gov. Pete Wilson, Shannon is emphasizing regulatory reform and fighting violent crime. As Wilson't criminal justice adviser, Shannon helped draft bills that authorized the death penalty for car-jacking and drive-by shootings.
Shannon commends Sher for "his commitment to environmental standards" but says that "he's out of the mainstream on other key issues." Sher counters that Shannon is a "a bright and articulate young man, with the emphasis on young."
The race is a rematch of a special election last March , when Sher and Shannon squared off in a nasty battle to fill the suddenly vacant seat. Sher won that contest by 10 points.
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Data is from the past two weeks.