First, they have the name recognition and a record of public service they can tout. Secondly, they more likely than not have the support of the county party, which brings with it a whole host of resources, from contacts to hit up for campaign funds and ready volunteers to do everything from collect ballot signatures to man the phones at campaign HQ.
But probably the biggest advantage they have is the ability to tap into government resources. While even the best candidate can only promise what they will do if elected, a sitting incumbent can actually deliver.
It's no coincidence that when a politically connected elected official faces a challenge, credible or not, they suddenly start to deliver for their district by calling in some favors from higher up. Could that be what just now getting underway in Woodside and the 30 Assembly District at large?
Longtime assemblywoman Marge Markey is facing a challenge in the upcoming election from within her own party in the form of Woodside native Brian Barnwell, who is out of the gate early. The Democratic Primary isn't until next September, but Barnwell already has people talking about his candidacy, and he held a fundraiser in his native Woodside on Tuesday evening.
Coincidentally or not, Markey was in Barnwell's backyard at the end of October to drop a $1 million check on the Woodside Houses in the form of state funds to upgrade the security system. When it comes time to head to the polls and the voters in the 20-building housing project ask Markey what she's done for them lately, she'll have a shiny new security system to point to.
Obviously, there's no direct correlation between the grant and Barnwell's candidacy, and we're sure the residents of Woodside Houses aren't going to quibble over the details, but we predict you are going to see a lot more of Markey around the district announcing similar accomplishments over the next 10 months.