Assemblymember Bill Quirk and Union City Human Relations Commissioner Jaime Patino.

MEET THE CANDIDATES Four years ago, Bill Quirk was the favorite to follow two-terms on the Hayward City Council with a seat in the Assembly. By Election Day, the race tightened significantly with Quirk winning by one of the smallest margins in the 2012 General Election—917 votes over Jennifer Ong. Now in Sacramento, Quirk has become the Assembly Democrat’s go-to-guy on scientific issues. In fact, former Speaker John Perez routinely addressed him during floor sessions as “Dr. Quirk.” Few on the Hayward City Council ever called him by this honorific, but Quirk is, indeed, a nuclear physicist and his expertise is a useful niche in the Assembly populated mostly by attorneys. Jaime Patino is a Union City Human Relations Commissioner and first-time candidate. He gained a second place finish last June. Patino may be part of a new wave of local Republicans who make no bones about their deviation from the national party’s rhetoric on social issues. Patino even won Quirk’s praise during the primary when he unequivocally supported same-sex marriage and spoke favorably about the plight of immigrants.

WHAT’S THE BEEF The comity ends there, though. A huge gulf exists between Quirk, a liberal Democrat, and Patino, a moderate Republican. Quirk is a firm supporter of gun control, although, the issue has not gained much prominence during the fall campaign. Patino, however, has banged the fiscal drum of criticism towards Quirk and the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Taxes are too high, forcing California businesses to flee the state, says Patino, and the state’s schools continue to under perform because of Democrats. The line of attack should feel familiar because it’s similar to rhetoric coming from California GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, although, not exclusively. Quirk, on the other hand, believes the state is moving in the right direction following a series of balanced budgets and a growing surplus.

PAST RESULTS 2014 June Primary: 1. Bill Quirk 31,882 (66.0%) 2. Jaime Patino 11,246 (23.3%) 3. Luis Reynoso 5,186 (10.7%). 2012 General Election: 1. Bill Quirk 67,028 (50.3%) 2. Jennifer Ong 66,111 (49.7%).

CAMPAIGN FINANCE (Through Sept. 30): Quirk $70,753 cash on hand; $50,908 since last filing; Patino, no finance report filed.

OUTLOOK Quirk’s margin of victory won’t be a large as Bonta’s, his neighboring assembly member to the north who also seeking his first re-election this November, but it will be significant. Quirk’s profile over the past two years hasn’t been as prominent as Bonta and many voters outside of Hayward (or maybe in Hayward, too) are not yet familiar with their representative.

PREDICTION 1. Quirk 2. Patino