Despite a long list of big gun endorsements and $700,000 in funding, state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) failed to best Republican Todd Zink in the June 5 primary for the 27th Senate District. With only the two candidates in the race, Pavley and Zink face a runoff on the Nov. 6 ballot when a bigger turnout is expected in the Democratic-leaning district. With comparatively little money and few endorsements, Zink--a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney and veteran Marine Corps officer who served in Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan--narrowly beat Pavley. He garnered 50.6 percent of the votes compared to her 49.4 percent. Pundits widely expected Pavley to handily win and reasoned that Zink would be doing well just to keep the well-known incumbent--author of California’s landmark climate change legislation, AB 32, and a law promoting electric vehicles--from winning by a landslide. Pundits speculated that if Pavley didn’t win big, Zink could at least attract some money to run a credible campaign this November. All that changed in the lead up to June 5, as Chevron weighed in with other businesses to fund a $26,000 negative mailer on Pavley. Zink picked up a handful of high profile endorsements, including the mayor of the incumbent’s home town, Agoura Hills Zink is silent on energy and the environment, focusing instead on law enforcement, maintaining educational funding, and promoting jobs and business. Pavley is running in a newly carved district that incorporates part of her current Senate district in the generally liberal and heavily Democratic leaning west San Fernando Valley with a more conservative area in eastern Ventura County that covers Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks. The area went heavily for Obama in 2008, but split down the middle in the gubernatorial race in 2010 with Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman each getting 47 percent of the votes. Pundits now speculate that the November race for the 27th Senate District could become a hotbed for participation by outside interests as a potentially vulnerable Pavley proves to be a lightning rod for conservative groups and a cause célèbre for environmental, labor, and liberal organizations.