Glazer immediately takes hold of the narrative in special State Senate race

Just weeks after joining the SD7 special election, 
Steve Glazer is already grabbing the headlines.

STATE SENATE | DISTRICT 7 | Steve Glazer, a former consultant to Gov. Jerry Brown, failed to advance past the June primary last summer in the 16th Assembly District, but his return last month to seek Rep. Mark DeSaulnier’s vacated seat in the State Senate might seem very familiar to weary voters in Contra Costa County and Tri Valley in Alameda County.

During a forum in Lafayette Wednesday, Glazer used a nearly identical playbook of centrist policies that gained his campaign for the Assembly great attention, but ultimately returned a dismal third-place finish in the June Primary.

However, this time around Glazer’s opponents lack the ideological variety that exist in the race last year. There is no Republican of Catharine Baker’s ilk in this race, which could help Glazer in this moderate senate seat. In fact, the only Republican in the race, little-known Michaela Hertle, dropped out last week. However, her name will still appear on the Mar. 17 primary ballot.

Assemblymember Susan Bonilla and Joan Buchanan, also Democrats, have thus far shown little dissimilarity. Both have positioned their campaigns on a platform for improving education.

Susan Bonilla and Joan Buchanan at an 
endorsement meeting last month in Dublin.

Whether Glazer’s gameplan that yielded an unsatisfactory result last year works or not this spring is yet to be seen. But judging by Wednesday’s performance, he has successfully grabbed the narrative of the race in his favor.

Glazer labeled himself with a number of ideological descriptors, including “social progressive,” “pragmatic progressive,” “fiscal conservative” and “Jerry Brown Democrat.” Support from every niche group might be needed for victory.

In the meantime, Glazer’s platform has changed very little over the months. Banning BART strikes again took precedent. “I’m not anti-labor. I’m pro-rider,” said Glazer. He also pushed for state legislation to prohibit transit strikes.

When Bonilla raised the belief bargaining groups on both sides of the table should meet early and often, Glazer attempted to create daylight. “There wasn’t a single elected official who said this is wrong,” Glazer responded. “I’m hearing some revisionist history here tonight.”

Glazer also called for his opponents to offer their answers to often confidential union questionnaires each may have filled out. But, Bonilla had a stern retort ready. “I have something better than the campaign contribution challenge. I actually have a voting record,” said Bonilla.

On the governor’s high-speed rail project, all three Democrats questioned where funding will be found going forward.

On the Delta water tunnels project, the trio registered opposition with Buchanan stating, “It potentially will destroy the Delta” and would not produce a drop of water for the drought-plagued state.

Curiously, Glazer’s opposition to both Brown-backed initiatives came before he told the gathering in Lafayette one of his proudest achievements was helping get the governor elected in 2010. “I was being straight up about it,” Glazer said in an interview. “There are things where he has shown some great leadership and things where we don’t see eye to eye. He knows that.”

Glazer’s call for linking together a broad coalition of voters in the 7th Senate District might face some difficulty from the left. When Glazer reiterated his endorsement of Republican Baker for the Assembly seat last fall over fellow Democrat Tim Sbranti, a number of people loudly hissed.

“I put it in this perspective: I’m the progressive,” Glazer said afterwards. “I’ve had a progressive agenda my whole life. The reason we’re having difficulties on other issues, whether it’s pensions or BART, the progressive vision is financial stability and if we don’t have that, you can’t do good in the world.”