There may be no state legislative race this year more freighted with significance for clean energy than the contest in California’s 27th state Senate district.

Fran Pavley
State Sen. Fran Pavley

That’s where Democrat Fran Pavley, a long-time champion of clean energy, is facing off against Todd Zink, a Republican first-timer backed by a torrent of dirty-energy, and just dirty, money. The same corporate interests that haven’t been able to block or repeal Pavley’s legislative victories now want to punish her for passing them — and send a message to other state legislators who might be getting green ideas.

At stake in the race is not only Pavley’s final term in office (she has said this is the last time she plans to run), but a rare chance for Democrats to take two-thirds of the state Senate, which would at long last provide them the ability to bypass the opposition of state Republicans and manage the state’s budget like adults.