Guillen Stokes Interests Of Young East Bay Democrats

Jan. 31, 2012 | One thing is sure: Abel Guillen has quite an exuberant base backing him for his run at the 18th assembly district. The problem, though, is it may be the one demographic that forces campaign consultants to pull out their hair—young voters.

Will they or won’t they bother to vote?

As a trustee on the Peralta Community College board, Guillen gained a hearty round of praise from Progressives late last year when he led an effort to transfer the district’s assets from large banks to credit unions.

Hard core Occupy Oakland protesters talked up Guillen as one of the few public officials standing up directly to the demonized One Percent. Well-connected young Democrats began talking up Guillen as a candidate they could trust to fight their cause of social and economic equality in Sacramento.

The growing support for Guillen among this group turns the rude, well-worn stereotype that young voters would rather hole themselves up playing video games rather than vote, on its head.

“This group will turn out for Guillen,” said an Oakland official, who plans to support him. But, short of a drum line of Occupy Oakland supporters rhythmically stepping to the polls, is it enough to make a difference, even in a tough four-person race?

Categories: Abel Guillen, Assembly, banks, occupyoakland, playbook

3 replies

  1. Steven,

    Thanks for your look at Abel & how he resonates well with young voters. I have known Abel for a long time. I volunteered on his campaign when he ran against a well-known, well-funded, entrenched incumbent for the Peralta Community College Board.

    I have been a part of many political campaigns and I was struck by the broad coalition of supporters Abel put together. Yes, there were many young people but there were also seniors, rank-and-file union members, community activists of all ages, people from all races & ethnicities, and families who all came out to walk & phone with Abel. He energized this base like few other candidates I have seen. We went out and knocked on practically every door in that district. I personally talked with voters in West Oakland who rarely saw political candidates on their block and at their doorstep.

    It was this kind of effort and support (financially as well as he raised significant amount of money from the grassroots) that helped Abel win that campaign.

    From his current campaign filings, I see Abel has raised a significant amount of money from hundreds of small donors for the 18th AD race as well. Abel's base of supporters from his past campaigns along with a growing number of officials and organizations such as the California Nurses Association, the California Federation of Teachers, and others shows that Abel will be able to run a strong campaign and win this seat.

    I have no reservations that young voters will come out to support and vote for Abel. They, along with many others, did it before in the Peralta race. And they will do it again.


  2. I agree with Gene. Abel will welcome support from young people and even from “occupiers” but I don't think he'll be relying on them (especially the latter) to win this race. He has deep support among other progressive and grassroots groups, and those people will work hard for him!


  3. I also concur with the previous two commenters. Abel Guillen may resonate well young progressives, but is unfair to pigeon-hole him into such a narrow slot. I have been proud to support Abel since he announced his candidacy. I am in my mid-forties and at the several of his campaign events I have attended I was pretty much in the median age range.

    In addition to his “youth cred,” Abel also understands labor issues, and he has a professional understanding of public finance.


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