Next Tuesday\u2019s election promises little energy leadership change in the state Legislature, except for the suspense between the author of California\u2019s landmark climate change legislation and a Republican upstart in a newly drawn state Senate district. That race for the 27th District pits veteran lawmaker Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) against Republican Todd Zink. He\u2019s a former military officer and a current prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney\u2019s Office who narrowly outpolled Pavley in the June primary (Current, June 8, 2012). The district encompasses western San Fernando Valley and parts of Ventura County. As expected, the contest is drawing plenty of independent expenditures, including by a group known as Senior Advocates, which is funded in part by Chevron. In October, the group ran $200,000 worth of television commercials accusing Pavley of dodging taxes. \u201cThese groups are not only attacking Sen. Pavley because redistricting left her with a new, much more competitive district than her previous one,\u201d according to California League of Conservation Voters political and campaign manager Mike Young, \u201cbut also because she\u2019s been synonymous in California and around the world with the environmental movement and a clean energy economy.\u201d Senior Advocates appears to be a defunct organization with no information posted on its website after the 2010 election. \u201cPavley and her supporters owe the people of this district an apology,\u201d countered Zink, who complained in a statement that trial lawyers have been funding competing commercials claiming he opposed Planned Parenthood. He says he\u2019s not. The mudslinging comes in a race considered a tossup in the latest polls. Pavley is a long-time lawmaker in Sacramento who, in 2006, when she served in the Assembly, co-authored AB 32--the state\u2019s climate protection legislation. Earlier in her career she coauthored legislation empowering the state to set greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars. Another close legislative race--although at the Congressional level--finds Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) in a dead heat with former Republican Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. While in state office, Maldonado opposed AB 32. The former Lt. Governor positions himself as a moderate Republican in the district. The territory covers Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties and is home to Pacific Gas & Electric\u2019s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Capps has advocated for safety at the facility as a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, though energy and the plant do not play a key role in the election. Maldonado gained ground late in the campaign, boasting youth and vigor compared to the older Capps, who cites Washington experience. In other races for seats in Sacramento, Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee chair, is easily favored over his Democratic opponent and perennial candidate Merv Evans. Evans is focusing on social issues in his YouTube video-centered campaign, including opposition to placing discharged sex offenders in communities. He wants the state to rent a Carnival Cruise ship to house sex offenders at sea. While not a committee head, energy policy influential state Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood) faces an easy run against Republican Charlotte Svolos, a schoolteacher who has yet to raise any money for her campaign. Assemblymemeber Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast) is running against fellow Democrat Tom Lynch from Guerneville. Lynch also has no money for his campaign and media reports indicate he\u2019s carpooled with Chesbro to a series of candidate debates in the sprawling district. Chesbro chairs the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, which frequently deals with energy issues. State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), who chairs the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee, is not facing re-election. State Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga)--who is outspoken on energy and climate change issues--is running for the House in the 31st Congressional District against Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA).