Democratic candidates in the 15th District–
Tony Thurmond and Elizabeth Echols.

ASSEMBLY | DISTRICT 15 | Elizabeth Echols, one of two Democrats running for the open 15th Assembly District seat this fall, has served under two presidencies. The other candidate, Tony Thurmond, has served as a city councilmember in Richmond and on the West Contra Costa County school board. Both say they have the requisite experience to replace termed-out Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, albeit with resumes spanning differing spheres of public service.

In the June primary, Echols won 31 percent of the vote — good enough for a seven-point win over Thurmond in a race that featured seven candidates in all. Under the state’s top-two primary system, the two Democrats will again meet in what is widely viewed as being an evenly matched race this November to represent a district that includes a portion of North Oakland and the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, and Piedmont, along with a large swath of West Contra Costa County that runs from El Cerrito to Hercules.

This is also a race in which the two candidates are generally regarded as being progressives who have similar values. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is their backgrounds. Echols served as an internet and e-commerce advisor to then-Vice President Al Gore and was appointed by President Barack Obama as the West Coast regional administrator for the US Small Business Administration. Echols said that during her time under Obama, the administration helped save jobs in the Bay Area during the recession by offering loans to many small businesses when banks were unwilling to lend money. “My experience will enable me to hit the ground running and be a leader in Sacramento,” said Echols. “I think that’s the most important thing for this district.”…