May 22, 2012 | When she entered the Alameda County Administration building Tuesday afternoon, Newark City Councilwoman Ana Apodaca said she was just praying to be picked as a finalist to replace former supervisor Nadia Lockyer.

Apodaca was one of five candidates chosen by the board to be publicly interviewed May 29 and only person receiving a vote from all four remaining supervisors. “My mom was going to light a candle and pray for me,” she said afterwards.

Former Union City councilman Richard Valle received three of four votes, while community activist Sheryl Grant received two. Perhaps the two candidates with the most experience—Union City Mayor Mark Green and former supervisor Gail Steele—each received a single vote. In lieu of a second round of voting, the board agreed to accept all candidates who garnered a vote for next week’s interviews. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to pick a successor to replace Lockyer during the June 5 meeting.

Apodaca acknowledged quite a bit of horse trading has already gone down behind closed doors, “but, there’s still more politicking to come.” Numerous Latino and women’s group are believed to be heavily lobbying for an appointee from both or either demographics.

The board’s vote Tuesday also revealed tepid support for leveling the playing field in advance of a very contentious race come November in the manner sought by Supervisor Keith Carson, who had advocated for Steele as a placeholder candidate.

Instead, they appear cognizant of the Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s reported interest in the seat. “Her presence is a factor,” Supervisor Nate Miley said afterwards. “She has money and she has access to donors.”

“I don’t know if you can have a fair competition if Mary runs,” Miley added. Hayashi’s war chest runs as high as $800,000 and would easily dwarf any of the potential appointees, if they were to seek re-election in the fall. However, Miley said speculation over Hayashi’s entrance in the fall campaign for the seat does not weigh heavily in the board’s decision to fill the seat.