Is Corbett’s Future In State-Wide Office?

By Steven Tavares

The chatter among the political class in the East Bay is vibrating with speculation state Sen. Ellen Corbett’s future past 2014 lies in state-wide office. The discussion was again lit last week when many in Sacramento and locally began to do the political calculations on the assumption Secretary of State Debra Bowen wins the special election for congress down south in the 36th District.

In the recent past, Corbett has not been shy about a desire to move up the political ranks. Many have noted recently a coy wink-and-a-nod from Corbett when asked about the potential opening at the secretary of state’s office after Rep. Jane Harman announced her retirement this month from congress. If Bowen were to defeat a raft of challengers including Janice Hahn, in a possible June special election, Gov. Jerry Brown could appoint a successor to fill out Bowen’s last 3½ years or call for his own special election.

Road maps for candidates seeking different offices often are predicated on timing and luck. Insiders say if Corbett is indeed eyeing the state of secretary job she needs to make her move now. Still, being an appointed incumbent in any election, whenever it occurs, is a huge leg up on the competition and likely would dissuade any potentially strong candidates from challenging her. California’s new open primary system has yet to make its debut, but it might change the political calculus, some say, where the top two vote-getters regardless of party will face-off in the general election. Most also say, though, despite the electoral uncertainty of the new system, the power of the incumbency will still rule the day.

This is not the first time Corbett’s name has been mentioned for another seat other than her state senate position. Last spring, she seriously contemplated leaving the Legislature for what would have been a surefire win at the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in District 3. While the seat may seem like a demotion from the state senate, it includes a higher salary in addition to no term limits. Corbett easily won re-election last November to the senate and was named Senate Majority Leader by her party.

Robin Torello of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, told The Citizen she believes Brown would entertain a replacement for secretary of state from a pool of candidates hailing from Southern California since nearly all of the state-wide officers are from the Bay Area or Sacramento.

Regardless of this particular situation, politicians angling for new offices will be a major story in the East Bay over the next year. Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi is termed-out in 2012 and her likely destination would be replacing Corbett in 2014 and leaving her current seat open to a raft of willing prospects. Then, there is always the potentially bloody battle nearly all will wage to replace Rep. Pete Stark, if and when he chooses to retire in 2012 or 2014.


Categories: Alameda County Board, Assembly, Debra Bowen, Ellen Corbett, legislature, Mary Hayashi, Pete Stark, Robin Torello, sacramento, secretary of state, State Senate

8 replies

  1. Both Ellen Corbett and Mary Hayashi must decide whether to cross the Rubicon and test statewide appointment or play it safe on their records.

    No less formidable an opponent than Mayor Mike Sweeney, chief among Corbett and Hayashi constituencies, has vowed to lead the recall of both of these representatives if they do not stop Governor Brown's efforts to eliminate the Redevelopment Agencies.

    Surprising how Steve has missed this well known opinion and chosen not to report it in the East Bay Citizen. Makes you wonder if he really is nothing less than a shill for the establishment. Ralph


  2. You think a recall is plausible? There's no chance. Besides, the issue with RDA will not be as Draconian as Brown proposed it on Jan. 10. We're not going to have a Civil War over RDA.


  3. Sweeney at one point suggested that the state stop funding Cal State East Bay because it changed its name from Hayward to East Bay.Sweeney is a shrewd operator but I don't think he'll go after Hayashi or Corbett, it might also come back to haunt him.
    Santos could be the top candidate for Starks job , now that he's tan and rested.



  4. We can only hope these old mares are sent to pasture. Useless wastes of precious oxygen.


  5. There won't be a recall of Corbett or Hayashi and most likely, as I said, Nadia Lockyer will get the Secretary job or run for it.


  6. All I am saying is that March 10 is the likely day that the line is drawn in the sand by Jerry. He needs to find the money and present the plan and on that date you will see his big grab depriving cities with RD of their last possible place to hide patronage money and support progressive agendas.

    After that time, what is happening in Wisconsin will look meek compared to what will be proposed in California. No way that the voters will support the increase in taxes needed to offset the state deficit.


  7. Ralph…don't worry, Governor Brown knows what he's doing (sarcasm).


  8. The only thing “state-wide” in regards to Ellen Corbett is her butt.


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