|Assemblymember Rob Bonta, left, defeated David Erlich by 70 percentage points in the June Primary. They meet again in November. PHOTO/Steven Tavares|
MEET THE CANDIDATES Rob Bonta won this seat two years ago by only more than a thousand votes. This time around his campaign has even bothered to put up campaign signs. That doesn’t imply Bonta is taken the likely blowout lightly. At the few candidate forums organized for this race, Bonta has shown up and engaged his opponent. During his first term, Bonta boasts 16 of the 20 bills offered to Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law. His focus over the past two years has been on public safety, although many of his bills have yet to pan out, including one that would have given the Oakland City Council power to regulate gun registration and sales. David Erlich is a San Leandro electrician whose politics clearly run to the right, although, with a libertarian streak. In addition, he has become a vocal foot soldier for the Alameda County GOP. Erlich was part of the opposition to the One Bay Area transportation and planning initiative and asserts Sacramento is usurping local control of municipal finances. Erlich has also been in the hospital since Oct. 9 following emergency surgery. He will likely spend Election Night in the hospital, he says.
WHAT’S THE BEEF? As it pertains to local issues confronting the district, the rhetoric now, and during the primary, is few and far between. That’s not to say there are not significant ideological differences in this race. In fact, they are monumental, but the conflict is more general. Like watching the talking heads on cable television spout the party lines of the left and right. Bonta touts the state’s economic upturn, while Erlich says the surplus is a ruse when billions in unfunded pension costs are still on the state’s ledger. The race was neatly summed up last month at a forum in Alameda when Bonta declared, “I think we’re starting to see difference between me and my opponent. He doesn’t believe in taxes. He doesn’t believe in government.” Erlich disagreed.
PAST RESULTS 2014 June Primary: 1. Rob Bonta (D) 44,321 (85.8%) 2. David Erlich (R) 7,358 (14.2%); 2012 General Election: 1. Rob Bonta (D) 75,865 (50.5%) 2. Abel Guillen (D) 74,422 (49.5%).
CAMPAIGN FINANCE (Through Sept. 30) Bonta $440,469 cash on hand; $177,656 since last filing; Erlich, no finance report filed.
OUTLOOK Erlich is fully aware he’s in for another drubbing this November and he has been honest about the reason he’s running for the seat: Bonta shouldn’t be running unopposed. In one of the most shining moments of political honesty, Erlich said this about his chances of winning, “Buy a lottery ticket, you’lll have a better chance.” As in the primary, either this race or Rep. Barbara Lee’s, will represent the most-lopsided result in the entire East Bay.
PREDICTION 1. Bonta 2. Erlich