Quirk Hold Off Hard-Charging Ong Setting Up An Interesting Runoff In Assembly 20

June 6, 2012 | Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk won the California primary Tuesday night for the 20th Assembly District, setting up a match up in the fall with a candidate who managed to energize voters in an election that engendered little enthusiasm.

Quirk won the primary with 30.20 percent of the vote. Dr. Jennifer Ong, a first-time Democratic candidate, pulled together and strong and frenetic last few weeks to earn 24.92 percent. The performance was likely enhanced by strong support within the district’s large Asian American community, specifically Filipinos. If elected, Ong would be the only Filipino American in the State Legislature (Rob Bonta in the nearby 18th Assembly District, is also chasing the same distinction this fall). In a county that saw a total of 21 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, her mixture of public appearance, free potted plants and mailers containing pot holders got out the vote.

The night’s results, however, ended a disastrous day for Union City Mayor Mark Green, who finished with 20.86 percent. Earlier in the day he learned the Alameda County Board of Supervisors had excluded him from consideration to replace Nadia Lockyer. Later in the night, his Assembly campaign as an independent fell short of finishing in the top two. The fact “decline to state” voters stayed home nearly 13 points below the already dreadful baseline of 21 percent turnout, invariably killed Green’s chances. Republican Luis Reynoso finished with 18.08 percent, followed by Sarabjit Cheema with 5.77 percent.

Similar to the race in the 18th Assembly District, this one will feature two very similar Democrats. The difference is Quirk has eight years of experience and policy decisions on the Hayward City Council and Ong has no record. Ong also has out-of-the-box consultant and raconteur Richie Ross on her side. As we saw in this race, Ong is a consultant’s dream. She stays on message and appears willing to allow the pros steer her ship. One way for Ong to draw major distinctions between her and Quirk within environmentalists, can be summed up in three words: Calpine. Calpine. Calpine.

You can already envision a Ross-inspired mailer featuring school children playing under a dark cloud of pollution, presumably from the Calpine power plant near Chabot College, and including a paper face mask emblazoned with the words, Ong for Assembly.

CORRECTION: In an early edition of this article, the percentage of votes Ong received was incorrect posted in the text, but not in the table. The error has been corrected.

20th District……………VOTES….PCT
Bill Quirk………………11773..30.20%
Jennifer Ong……………..9717..24.92%
Mark Green……………….8131..20.86%
Luis Reynoso……………..7047..18.08%
Sarabjit Cheema…………..2250.. 5.77%

Categories: AD 20, Assembly, Bill Quirk, Calpine, Democrats, Hayward, independent, Jennifer Ong, Luis Reynoso, Mark Green, Sarabjit Cheema

13 replies

  1. Jennifer Ong bought the second place seat and for how much? Now the real question. Which of Ong or Quirk has taken in more special interest money? And what do they have to do for pay back of this money if they get elected?


  2. Excellant point above…both are bought and paid for…the people are fools for trusting either. Sad day, again, in the East Bay.


  3. It's a mistake to believe that Ong's showing was only the result of her ethnicity. Both she and Quirk are unique individuals on many different levels having nothing to do with ordinary stereotypical ideas of race, class, sex etc. There are many, for instance, who resonated with Ong's call for change from business as usual to the more organic birthing of a more feminine vision of life, growth family and community.


  4. In an area of very little political sophistication it does not surprise me that lot's of money will buy a candidate the election.

    Mark Green and Luis Reynoso were much more competent candidates than Bill Quirk or Jennifer Ong.

    Too bad competence in politics never really has access to the same kind of money that goes to lesser candidates.

    Special interest money always goes to candidates which are most likely to be controlled by special interest.

    Our elections are now bought and controlled by special interest donors that fund weak candidates.


  5. Now I have no one to vote for in November for AD20. Not even a write in. There should be a write in for the ballot as a form of protest.

    I agree that big money now sways elections. Quirk a poor choice and Ong is a very poor choice.

    So the choices in AD20 are either poor or very poor.


  6. When you think the choices are only poor or very poor, it's time to step up and do better!~


  7. Quirk is…quirky. That fool can't be sent to Sacramento.


  8. Quirk is quirky and Ong is dumb-dung..either way both are bad. Awful choices, I agree with 2:10 and others similar.


  9. Of course, the people who are complaining about Quirk and Ong have no policy basis for their complaints, at least none they tell us. Why do they find Quirk and Ong unacceptable, other than the two have the largest groups and organizations who actually support them? We don't know. I bet they don't know.

    What do these losers stand for?


  10. Oh the little brain people. It has nothing to do with message but instead contributions and purchase of votes $$$$. Much talk about how much Jennifer Ong spent on campaign of anywhere $40 -$90 per vote. My estimates of Ong's campaign spent maybe about $75.00 per vote. In reference to 11:40am I think you are missing the point. The reason why people are complaining is because these special interest organization have contributed so much $$$ to Ong's campaign that it is no longer an election but rather a purchase of a seat. The losers could never be controllable like Ong. The losers of Green Reynoso and Cheema are too strong of candidates, and too smart for special interest organization groups.
    Funny Quirk is quirky and Ong is dumb-dung.


  11. “She stays on message and appears willing to allow the pros steer her ship.” A real independent, think for herself politician. Is this the best the district can do?


  12. Actually I think Jennifer Ong's campaign expenses was about $200 per vote by my calculations.
    Very simple:
    Look how much in votes she received than from the 3rd place. The difference between Mark Green and Jennifer Ong is about 2000 votes.
    So If Mark Green spent 40K for his votes and Ong total campaign expenses were about 500K to beat Green's vote count.
    Therefore Jennifer Ong spent:
    500,000 – 40,000 = $460,000 for only 2000 votes difference between Green and Ong!!!
    Which is about $230 per vote to get a 2nd place finish. Yiekeees!!!!
    Jennifer Ong BOUGHT her 2nd place finish!!!!


  13. No wonder Jennifer Ong was giving away plants for votes.


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