DEMOCRATS | The 12-person Democratic Party convention delegation from the 18th Assembly District was envisioned to be a group solely under the imprimatur of Assemblyman Rob Bonta. In fact, 11 of the 12 men and women selected last Sunday in Alameda are so-called “Bontanistas,” as some of his island detractors have come to call thm, but it’s the lone hold out that makes things interesting.
Abel Guillen, Bonta’s opponent in the most recent 18th Assembly District race finished fourth among the men. Guillen’s crashing of the District’s party delegation to the April 12-14 Democratic Party convention in Sacramento comes on the heels of recent chatter in Oakland circles he is telling supporters he is contemplating a rematch with Bonta in 2014. Bonta narrowly won the intra-party race last November, but Guillen’s inherent strength in Oakland and whispers of whether he is actually the true progressive and not Bonta, still makes him viable.
In the meantime, it is clear Bonta is making moves to fortify his liberal credentials in a area where even the slightest shades of blue can foster strong debate normally reserved for discussions between Democrats and Republicans. A tweet sent out by Guillen to his followers Jan. 3 urged an increase in the minimum wage from $8 to $10-an-hour also hinted he intends to continue his campaign for the assembly in some form or another in the near-term.
The importance of this newest slate of delegate was not lost on the 15th District’s Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, who spoke at Sunday’s gathering of Democrats, even though the group is not part of her current constituency, but it could be in the years to come. Redistricting cobbled together state Sens. Loni Hancock and Ellen Corbett’s districts, meaning in 2016, Skinner’s potential senate district will overlap many of same voters Bonta now represents in Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro. Sandre Swanson, however, may have something to say about this after nearly challenging Hancock last year before relenting.
It’s a deft political move by Skinner to further ingratiate herself with the 18th Assembly delegation now in hopes of winning their backing later. The Skinner-Bonta relationship has already blossomed on other fronts, too. Bonta co-sponsored Skinner’s recent high-profile bill regulating ammunition sales in the state and the two are hosting an open house next week. As one Democrat told The Citizen last Sunday, it’s not a bad partnership. Bonta gets Skinner’s progressive cred and she gets the support of his caucus slate.
Following a high turnout of 484 voters last Sunday in Alameda, here is the 18th Assembly delegation by gender and order of finish: (Women) Brendalynn Goodall, Elizabeth Ortega, Lynette Gailord, Lena Tam, Malia Vella, Meriam Reynosa. (Men) Shon Buford, Sean Sullivan, DJ Leonardo, Abel Guillen, Keith Gibbs, Doug Jones.
In Skinner’s 15th Assembly District: Janet Abelson, Wendy Bloom, Margaret Hanlon-Gradie, Ces Rosales, Cora Word, Charles Davidson, Nicky Gonzalez Yuen, Jael Myrick Gabriel Quinto, Dan Rush, Igor Tregub.
Assemblyman Bill Quirk’s 20th District delegation features two of his opponents from last year, Dr. Jennifer Ong and Sarabjit Cheema. Quirk outlasted Ong last November by just 917 votes, while Cheema was a primary opponent who later endorsed Quirk for the assembly. On the male side, Hayward’s Peter Bufete finally won an election. After an unfortunate 2012 when Bufete suffered defeat in June in the Hayward City Council race followed by a last-place finish for the school board in November, the young up-and-comer, however, apparently is not done with politics.
Here are the results in the 20th Assembly District: (Women) Sarabjit Cheema, Jennifer Ong, Harpreet Kaur, Aisha Wahab, Michelle Thomas, Leti Salinas. (Men) Gary Singh, Rocky Fernandez, Rick Trullinger, Vishal Trevedi, Stan Smith, Peter Bufete.
Shane Bond contributed to the article.