State Democrats Endorse Bonta; Campaign Repositions Candidate To The Left

ELECTION ’12//ASSEMBLY 18 | Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta secured one of the biggest endorsements left to be had in the 18th Assembly District–the full backing of the California Democratic Party.

Democratic party members Sunday afternoon tabbed the 40-year-old Bonta over Peralta Community College Trustee Abel Guillen, also a Democrat. Bonta beat Guillen by over six points in the June primary. Both will face-off again in the general election in November.

The need to make an endorsement at this late stage of the campaign was necessitated by the state’s new open primary rules. Party activists were asked to give their imprimatur on races featuring Democrats running head-to-head this November who had not previously received the party’s endorsement. Four other races, including a contentious congressional battle in Southern California between two long-time liberal representatives, were also discussed in caucuses across the state.

Democrats in the 18th Assembly District did not award an endorsement earlier in the year to either Bonta, Guillen or AC Transit board member Joel Young. Bonta, with help of Democrats in Alameda pushed past the requisite 60 percent of the vote to snag the highly important and potentially lucrative moniker. Bonta’s 63 percent included notable votes from Sen. Ellen Corbett and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson. The redrawn 18th Assembly District contains most of Swanson’s current constituency.

On Sunday, Bonta’s campaign team took great lengths to reposition the candidate as not only the party’s newest standard-bearer, but also the most progressive candidate in the race. Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks, another who voted for Bonta Sunday, said, “Democrats trust Rob because of his tireless and personal commitment to the progressive politics of the party and the East Bay,” she said. During the primary, some in the campaign had lamented Bonta had somehow become pigeon-holed as something less than the most progressive candidate in one of the bluest districts in the state.

In addition to the notoriety and fundraising potential attached to the Democratic Party’s blessing, there may be added significance in a race featuring two very similar candidates. There is a school of thought that believes Sunday’s endorsement amounts to the party placing a large bet on Bonta. According to one East Bay insider, the Democratic Party does not want to risk getting behind the loser in November, even if either candidate largely suits its purposes.

Categories: #AD18, Abel Guillen, Alameda, Democrats, Dems Central Committee, Desley Brooks, Ellen Corbett, endorsements, Joel Young, Oakland, Rob Bonta

17 replies

  1. Latest word on the street is that Abel may challenge the endorsement with State party officials. Sore loser, desperate or just thinks he has nothing to lose (except maybe credibility)??Whatever the reason, such action may serve to validate the wisdom of the Democratic Party endorsing Bonta.


  2. If Desley Brooks is seen as the standard bearer for the Central Committee, heaven help the Democratic Party. Of course these folks are the same folks responsible for embracing the likes of Nadia Lockyer, Mary Hayashi and other ethically challenged politicos like oh yeah Delsey Brooks.


  3. This has less to do with Bonta's electability (which does indeed exceed Guillen's given their relative prettiness); it has everything to do with Bonta's go along to get along personality.


  4. It's more like Bonta derives from the Perata political family. If you're a Democratic insider like Bonta, you're always gonna get the endorsement over a relative outsider.


  5. Regarding Ms. Brooks as a “standard bearer”, what would make anyone think that the Democratic party has any control over who a reporter may ask to comment on anything? Also, any observer of the local Democratic party over the years would know that Perata has no relationship with it or influence over it.


  6. Brooks' quote comes from directly from Bonta's press release. Not from a reporter.

    And if you think Perata doesn't have any influence over local politics, there's a bridge i got to sell ya


  7. Read carefully – local Democratic Party is NOT the same as local politics. And if the quote came from Bonta's press release, then the Dem party standard bearer comment is even further out there.


  8. Alameda County is run by Democrats and the face of the Democratic Party locally is the Central Committee. Sounds interchangeable to me.

    Brooks is probably happy there is Nadia Lockyer and Mary Hayashi around. That lady is a mess but sex drugs and shoplifting trump Brooks' shell game with city funding and her other numerous indiscretions.


  9. It's impossible to conduct a logical dialogue with someone who is cloudy on facts and can't stay on point.


  10. Is the Dem party prepared to lose in this race too? Ong will beat Quirky Quirk. Swalwel will beat Stark. Guillen over Bonta. What are the odds on this trifecta?


  11. The odds. Zero. No chance. Mathematically inposibity. No way. Not even on dreams. This county is machine politics. Ong, Swalwel and Guillen will be proven to be the biggest losers this November. For Guillen he is about to face these realities where more and more people will come against him because of the endorsement of the Party. Ong has been feeling that for a while and for Swalwel he will face a more focused attack campaign from Stark.


  12. Bonta got this endorsement, Beall got the SJ Senate endorsement, Jerry Hill got the San Mateo Senate endorsement, and Berman came 3% away from winning the Democratic endorsement. What was the fifth race?


  13. Joe Baca, Jr. over Cheryl Brown in San Bernardino Assembly.


  14. This article omits the simple fact that a third of Bonta's votes were from delegates slots that were newly appointed by Democratic elected officials from LA, Santa Barbara, Davis, and Sacramento. He couldn't have won without outside help.

    Statewide moderates backing a local moderate. That's great that Bonta calls himself a progressive – let's follow the money, shall we?

    And I mean ALL the money, the Don Perata- and Willie Brown-aligned business contributors and Independent Expenditure committees that have already weighed in during the primary. Includes the prison guards and pension-spiking firefighters that Bonta attempted to mollify with an ill-considered June sales tax measure that Alameda voters soundly rejected… Interesting race here, to be sure.


  15. The grassroots and progressive Democratic clubs like MGO, Wellstone and East Bay Young Dems all back Guillen. And so does DFA. That speaks volumes about who progressives support in this race.


  16. The last two comments. Those are Abel Guillen's staffers trying to save a sinking ship. Or a sinking fatso.


  17. Bonta just tweeted the endorsement of Sandre Swanson.
    One of the most progressive Assemblymembers ever.

    'nuf said.


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