ELECTION ’12//ALCO SUPERVISOR DIST 2 | Despite reports Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi had lobbied Alameda County Democrats hard for a no-endorsement in her race for supervisor, the party overwhelming voted to back the re-election of District 2 Supervisor Richard Valle.
Valle, appointed to the seat last June to replace Nadia Lockyer, easily garnered the requisite 60 percent of the central committee members Saturday night with 26 of 33 votes, or 79 percent. Hayashi won five votes, while two members pushed for a no-endorsement.
Alameda County Democrats met for nearly 10 hours Saturday to finalize endorsements for races and measures from across the East Bay, but the most highly-anticipated decision featured one of the first face-to-face match ups between Valle and Hayashi. Union City Mayor Mark Green and Mark Turnquist two other candidates also in the race, but not up for the party’s imprimatur.
During the interview process, Hayashi called herself the “most qualified candidate running in this race,” but most committee members appeared more poised to hear her comments regarding the infamous January conviction for shoplifting. In fact, when the question was read aloud, a distinct murmur rose throughout the meeting room at party headquarters in Hayward.
“I went through a really negative press cycle,” said Hayashi, “and I paid a price.” She alluded to the possibility of Valle using the shoplifting charge against her during the campaign, but characterized the incident as a “honest human mistake that I paid for.” Citing her own research data, Hayashi indicating voters, instead, want to talk about job creation.
Some committee members also appeared wary of rumors Hayashi, if she wins this November, may run for state Senate in 2014. She denied the rumor, however, saying it would be no different than Valle abandoning his mayoral race in Union City this year to apply for county supervisor.
Valle opened his remarks Saturday afternoon showing more excitement in his speech and delivery and addressed the crowd with supporters in tow, including leaders from the local building trades union and labor council, along with Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney. As Valle rattled off the names of his of endorsers, Hayashi was seen grinning widely. She later said she won her Assembly seat in 2006 without an extensive endorsement list and can do it, again. “I don’t do window-dressing campaigns,” Hayashi said. “I go to the voters.”
Both candidates showed particular interest in using health care as a catalyst for their campaigns. Valle noted offering seven county initiatives in his first three months in office and touted his work in finding a potential new operator for beleaguered St. Rose Hospital in Hayward and working with Kaiser Permanente for a clinic in South Hayward.
Hayashi, who began her rise to Sacramento through health care, explained the extensive roll out of Obamacare in the next two years will involve greater participation at the county-level. “I will fight for our fair share,” she said.
While some Hayward and Tri Cities officials grumble over the perception Valle is not showing enough outward effort thus far in his re-election campaign, he showed renewed vigor with a almost rousing stump speech to end his interview. Although Valle noted competing against Hayashi’s large war chest is an obstacle, he vowed to run a determined campaign. “We are stickers and we are staying around,” he said. To which, Hayashi replied, “Don’t get too close. I don’t want to get sticked.”
Later in the evening, when Valle and Hayashi were long gone, committee members discussing the party’s endorsement rationalized Valle’s long commitment to provide union jobs and Latino heritage were a greater fit in the district’s large Hispanic demographic. However, 18th Assembly District committee member Marga Lacabe, was the only voice to direct an opinion against Hayashi and her past troubles. “She has brought shame to the Democratic Party,” said Lacabe, and the party should hold her accountable for her actions. “Endorsing her would be endorsing her actions.”