Rich Gordon and Kevin Mullin, the Peninsula's chief Democratic representatives in the state Assembly, are each expected to roll past a pair of inexperienced challengers in the June primary election.

Gordon, seeking a third and final term representing the 24th Assembly district, faces a Democrat and a Republican.

Mullin must contend with two Republicans, one of whom he beat in 2012 to win his seat representing the 22nd district.

Democrats in both districts have more than twice as many registered voters as the GOP.

In California's "top-two" primary system, the two leading candidates advance to a November general election runoff regardless of what party they represent.

Education, the environment and open government are three areas where Gordon has focused his attention in Sacramento.

The Menlo Park resident has passed bills strengthening plastic bottle recycling programs and shoring up the finances of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Last month Gov. Jerry Brown signed his bill to crack down on dark money in campaigns. The law, prompted by $11 million in secret contributions that oozed into California two weeks before the November 2012 election, gives the Fair Political Practices Commission the authority to immediately audit campaigns suspected of improper contributions to make sure citizens know the source of such donations when they vote.


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"There's nothing more important," said Gordon, 65, "than ensuring our electoral process is transparent."

Gordon's two challengers are Greg Coladonato, 42, a Mountain View businessman and fellow Democrat, and Diane Gabl, 29, a Palo Alto intellectual property attorney and Republican.

Coladonato, who manages an investment partnership and previously spent four years as a product manager at Google, says his business and high-tech experience make him well-suited to represent Silicon Valley, a good chunk of which resides in the 24th district that straddles San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Two of his top priorities, if elected, would be tackling the state's multibillion-dollar debt and improving K-12 education. Coladonato argues for stronger educational, testing and tenure standards for teachers.

Gabl did not respond to interview requests. According to her biography at Sidley Austin LLP, where she is an associate, Gabl studied physics as an undergraduate at Cornell University before receiving her law degree from the University of Chicago.

Mullin, 45, got seven of his bills passed in his first 18 months on the job, including a law to improve the signature-verification process for vote-by-mail ballots. He also was named assistant speaker pro tempore of the Assembly.

Mullin says he advocated for the inclusion in the current budget of a sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing and biotechnology companies.

"That was a big-ticket item that will deliver dividends for my district," said Mullin, who represents most of bayside San Mateo County.

Two challengers hope to unseat Mullin, who jumped to Sacramento from the South San Francisco City Council. They are Mark Gilham, a 52-year-old businessman from Redwood City, and Jonathan Madison, a 25-year-old law student who lives in Millbrae.

Mullin beat Gilham by 71 percent to 26 percent in the November 2012 general election, a predictable result in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 2.6 to 1.

Gilham, who owns a video and audio production company, calls for lower taxes and wants to tackle the state's debt problems by eliminating all public employee pensions, except for those of police officers and firefighters, and replacing them with 401(k)s.

Madison works as a policy adviser to Harmeet Dhillon, chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party. He previously served as an aide in the House of Representatives.

He advocates for middle-class tax cuts and providing parents with more choices when it comes to their children's education, including charter schools.

In a third statewide race involving San Mateo County, Assemblyman Phil Ting is seeking re-election in the 19th district, which includes half of San Francisco along with Daly City, Colma and part of South San Francisco.

Ting, a Democrat, and challenger Rene Pineda, a Republican, are both guaranteed of moving on to the November general election.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.