Wilma Chan, center, dropped out of the SD9 race
last October. Now she’s endorsing Nancy Skinner.

Nancy Skinner’s bid for the East Bay’s Ninth State Senate District has attracted the support of a pivotal former candidate.

The campaign announced on Tuesday the endorsement of Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who dropped out of the race in October citing, for one reason, her inability to compete with Skinner’s growing and overwhelming fundraising advantage.

“We need a strong partner to join us in the fight against income inequality, poverty and the lack of affordable housing,” said Chan. “It takes more than a good vote, it takes a commitment to activism and engagement. That’s why I am endorsing Nancy Skinner for State Senate.”

The endorsement by Chan, who was once viewed as an equally strong progressive candidate along with Skinner and Sandre Swanson before exiting the race, could prove pivotal in the campaign to win Asian American voters. Chan is also an Alameda resident and has represented the city as an assemblymember and county supervisor. Skinner called Chan’s support “hugely important,” in a statement.

Chan’s supervisorial district also includes a chunk of Oakland containing Chinatown, which could be valuable demographic real estate for each campaign to attract Asian American voters.

While Skinner’s stronghold is undoubtedly Berkeley where she is a well-known elected official, most believe Oakland is Swanson’s to lose, as is Alameda. In addition to Chan’s endorsement Tuesday, there have been signs Skinner is aiming to chip away at Swanson’s hold over the island.

Two weeks ago, the Alameda Democratic Club easily endorsed Skinner. When the results were announced at the end of the meeting, Swanson appeared clearly crestfallen by the news.