ESPN broadcaster, husband of defeated Alameda mayor, harassed new mayor by calling her Sarah Palin

Rod Gilmore, the husband of recently defeated
Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, repeatedly
labeled the new mayor as Sarah Palin.

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | ESPN college football analyst Rod Gilmore calls it like he sees it, but at a fundraiser last month he approached new Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer and repeatedly referred to her as “Sarah,” as in, the often-mocked former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.

Gilmore is also the husband of former Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, who was narrowly defeated by Spencer last November.

In an interview, Spencer said didn’t recognize Gilmore when he approached her as she was in line for a glass of wine at a crab feed Mar. 21 sponsored by the Alameda firefighters and local teachers union.

Bewildered by the exchange, Spencer told Gilmore “You must have me confused with my daughter.” Spencer has a daughter also named Sarah. Gilmore then referred to Spencer as Sarah Palin. “No, I’m not Sarah Palin,” said the mayor, which Gilmore responded, “I know you’re Sarah Palin because I saw how you debate.”

Trish Spencer, left, defeated Marie Gilmore by
just 129 votes last November.

Spencer said she remained calm during the incident. “I think he was trying to make me feel intimidated and I thought to myself, ‘I have to try and not respond in that way.’”

The discomforting scene ended when an Alameda political operative quietly pulled Spencer out of line, she said. Later that evening, Spencer encountered Gilmore and said hello, but he ignored her greeting, she said.

Tales of Gilmore’s bullying tactics have been passed around the Island in recent months and its not the first time he has engaged Spencer or her supporters in a boorish manner.

Preceding a mayoral candidate forum at the Rotary Club last fall, Gilmore told Spencer, “I’d wish you good luck, but I’m not going to.”

On the campaign trail, Gilmore was known to harass Spencer supporters canvassing door-to-door. During one such encounter Gilmore attempted to vigorously debate a campaign volunteer on the street. She was later surprised to learn the man was the then-mayor’s husband.

In addition, following Spencer’s surprise victory over Marie Gilmore by a scant 129 votes, the Gilmores snubbed the mayor-elect when they chose to leave the Alameda City Council Chambers right before she was sworn-in to office last December.

Most shocking, Gilmore’s bad behavior may have reached its low point when he aggressively got in the face of an 85-year-old supporter of Spencer last summer at the Harbor Bay Club. The gentlemen, a well-known member of the community who was playing tennis, told the East Bay Citizen last year, that Gilmore was so upset by his decision not to support his wife in the coming election that he rushed towards the man. No physical contact occurred, said the Bay Farm resident, but “I was so sure that he was going to hit me that I balled up my fists.”

Gilmore played football at Stanford and was part of the 1982 Big Game versus California featuring “The Play.” His father, Carter Gilmore, was the first African American ever elected to the Oakland City Council.

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