State Senate candidate Nancy Skinner speaking
to Democratic Party delegates Saturday in Oakland.

The East Bay’s hotly-contested Ninth State Senate District race between Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson will be waged without either carrying the banner of the California Democratic Party this primary season.

The pair of well-known former East Bay assemblymembers failed to gain a simple majority of Alameda County Democratic Party delegates at a pre-primary endorsement meeting Saturday afternoon in Oakland.

The party’s threshold for continuing the endorsement process through to next month’s statewide convention is 50 percent. But, neither came close to the mark.

Sandre Swanson received the most votes at
the party’s pre-endorsement meeting.

Swanson, though, received the most votes from party delegates, winning 45 of 121 ballots cast. Skinner received 41, followed by 35 votes for “no endorsement.”

Saturday’s outcome was expected with the only question being an outside shot of one candidate achieving a simple majority.

“I’m fine with the vote,” said Swanson. “I got the most votes. If I keep doing that, you know, I’ll win the primary and win the general.”

With delegates divided over two favorites seeking to replace the termed out State Sen. Loni Hancock in the district covering most of the Greater East Bay, Skinner said, reaching the requisite 70 percent of delegates Saturday needed for the party’s endorsement would have been difficult.

“It’s really hard to imagine–given that we have two good Democrats–that we would ever reach that threshold,” said Skinner. “So, this is actually a great outcome and it’s an appropriate outcome.”

A third candidate, Democrat Katherine Welch, also sought the party’s endorsement, but received no votes. The first-time candidate from Piedmont is the daughter of former General Electric chairman Jack Welch.

On the other side of the aisle, Republican San Pablo Councilmember Rich Kinney is also campaigning in the June 7 primary.