Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and his $111,000 campaign account

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson

ALAMEDA COUNTY | During the first half of the year, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson received just $1,000 in campaign contributions, measly, by most standards. The easily countable list of donations included $250 from Assemblymember Tony Thurmond and $100 from Oakland Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney. The longest-serving member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, however, is sitting on more than $111,000 in campaign reserves, according finance reports.

So, what does a sitting supervisor who hasn’t faced credible competition in over two decades need such campaign largess?

Often times, entrenched public officials, like many on the Board of Supervisors, can spread their wealth and power by giving large donations to the local Democratic machine or down ballot candidates. Carson has done this in the past. His colleagues on the board have participated in the same sort of generosity.

But, Carson’s campaign reserve, by far the largest among the Board of Supervisors, could also come in handy if the local political winds swerve the right way.

If Rep. Barbara Lee’s Thirteenth Congressional District is open over the next few years, Carson will likely lead the list of potential successors.

The last time Carson sought higher office he finished third in the 1998 primary for the State Senate seat later won by Don Perata.

In recent years, his rhetoric on issues such as civil rights have shown a more statesman-like bent more befitting a speech delivered on the House floor than the oratory heard at county supervisors meetings.

Of course, $100,000 is nowhere close enough to run a strong congressional race, but it can go a long way toward seeding one and showing potential donors you have a nice head start. Supervisor Wilma Chan seeded her State Senate campaign coffers with $72,000 transferred last spring from her supervisorial account.

And, similar to Carson’s past electoral experience, he does appear likely to face a strong challenge for re-election to his seat next June. Therefore, little of his cash will be spent. Yet, Carson, if interested in seeking a move to Congress, has one major stumbling block in his way. Lee doesn’t appear ready to be going anywhere and If she did, others might have the same inclination.

One name always connected to Lee’s seat is Assemblymember Rob Bonta. Some even suggest Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and just about every other official in the Oakland-Berkeley area.

Categories: Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Barbara Lee, CA13, campaign finance, congress, Keith Carson, Libby Schaaf, Oakland, Rob Bonta, Tony Thurmond

3 replies

  1. By MW:

    Based on an article I read several days ago, Keith Carson has been on the AC Board of Supervisors for twenty-two years.

    But and right now there is some serious discussion of putting in a term limits ordinance that would apply to the AC Board of Supes. If it applied to all members of the AC Board of Supes, and including the present Board members, then Carson would be soon forced to leave his present position, meaning that he would be forced to find another payroll spot if he was to continue “serving the public.”

    My philosophy on career politicians is that fairly often we should throw the rascals out and get in some new blood, and rather than keeping such creatures as and similar to Willie Brown, John Burton, Bill Lockyer Nancy Pelosi, and Pete Stark, and also Keith Carson, in there virtually forever.

    In fact when deciding who to vote for, if Candidate A has been in there virtually forever and Candidate B is a newcomer or has at least considerably less time in public life, I usually tend to vote for Candidate B unless I believe that Candidate A is drastically superior.

    And as far as term limits laws, I wish they were much stricter, and prohibited the present game in which for instance if a member of the State Senate is getting termed out then he just goes over to the State Assembly, or in the case of Bill Lockyer seemed determined to spend a few or several years in virtually every single high ranking job in Sacramento.

    For instance in the case of Lockyer. it seemed the last time he was not on the public payroll and “serving the public” Moses and Jesus Christ were still alive.

    And getting back to Keith Carson, I think he has been “serving the public” for far more than long enough, and now it is time that someone else took a turn.


  2. Not to say that Keith Carson has done anything crazy, the real issue his laissez faire attitude towards the unethical behavior of other politicians like Nate Miley. He KNOWS Miley has done illegal things and hasn't called him out on it. This is the problem with the long term, entrenched, entitled politicians. Term limits are needed and the incumbents need to go now.


  3. Hear! Hear!

    Bye, bye, Dirty Dick Valley.


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