AD16 | Cheryl Cook-Kallio, the Democrat tasked with winning back the only red assembly district in the Bay Area, received some attention from Assembly speaker-elect Anthony Rendon.

During his remarks before the California Democratic Party Convention’s general session Saturday, Rendon included Cook-Kallio, a former Pleasanton council member, in his list of importatnt races for Democrats to focus on in 2016.

However, pulling back the 16th Assembly District seat away from Republican Catharine Baker will be difficult. Within her first term, Baker has already amassed an incumbent’s war chest in excess of $500,000, while Cook-Kallio had yet to begin fundraising before the end of last year.

AD16 candidate Cheryl Cook-Kallio

And don’t forget, this is the seat that broke all kinds of records for independent expenditure spending in 2014 and potential for another is high.

Cook-Kallio told the East Bay Citizen that Rendon has promised to elevate further the party’s attention toward her race after the June primary. Thus far, Cook-Kallio is Baker’s only known challenger, making a November rematch likely.

CASEN | Sanchez is not the belle of the ball
Judging by the response, labor Democrats are not enthused by Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s bid for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat. While addressing the labor caucus Saturday night, Sanchez received tepid applause upon her introduction and throughout her remarks.

At one point, after Sanchez offered her union credentials, along with a 97 percent congressional voting record for labor, she was heckled by one audience member.

It was quite clear Sanchez was the not the belle of the ball over the weekend. In the labor caucus event and at the much larger general session audience, it was clear Democrats are much more enthused by the candidacy of state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

But, that’s not to say Sanchez appeal among Latinos can be overlooked, especially with the tenor Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is creating among the growing demographic. It’s no wonder Sanchez repeatedly focusing on immigration in her stump speeches. “It is a morally imperative to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” said Sanchez. “We cannot wait any longer.”

SEEN | Swanson gets down on the dance floor

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on the convention
floor Saturday afternoon.

Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk was a big caucus goer. Saw him in the front row at both the senior and labor caucus…Former state senate majority leader Ellen Corbett was seen chatting with embattled Sacramneto Democratic Rep. Ami Bera. Corbett is currently serving on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board…

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is attending the convention as an observer, albeit, with an VIP pass…Politico also reported seeing Schaaf and her former mayoral rival Jean Quan “elbow-to-elbow”…My spies tell me SD9 candidate Sandre Swanson was cutting a rug at a party Saturday night. Swanson, whose mobility is limited, was boogieing with the aid of his seat’s backrest…

Fremont state Sen. Bob Wieckowski was referred to by state Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leon as his “favorite Polish-American state senator.”…Contra Costa County state Sen. Steve Glazer was seen often inside the main hall of the convention Saturday afternoon. However, nobody ever seemed to have been talking to him.