Guillen Stokes Interests Of Young East Bay Democrats

ASSEMBLY 18
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?