12 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY | Sometimes the Internet is not what it seems. For some, the person one perceives on the other end of an online interaction is not who they are in real life. It’s not uncommon for, say a man, to fall in love with a person online without ever seeing them in the flesh, only to learn later it was another man posing as an interested woman. This is known as “catfishing.”

In the Ninth State Senate District, Sandre Swanson is pulling a similar trick with collection of campaign photos used in regular rotation that may be more than five years old. Call it “political catfishing,”

The array of campaign photos used by the Swanson campaign appear to be high-quality. A pair appears to show Swanson speaking during his bygone days in the Assembly. A few others are de rigueur campaign poses, like one of Swanson posing with school children while they use a computer. Notice the computers in the photo are a bit dated.

A campaign mailer sent this week by Sandre
Swanson’s state Senate campaign.

But, while the campaign’s use of old photos may appear cosmetic, they have meaning and may be covering up what is Swanson’s inherent disadvantage in the race against Nancy Skinner–his physical frailty.

Since he underwent surgery on his spine three years ago, Swanson has been noticeably immobile, even back to his time serving in Oakland Mayor Jean Quan‘s administration. On the campaign trail, Swanson often slowly ambles to an awaiting chair while using two canes. There’s nothing wrong with Swanson between the ears. His rhetoric has been equal parts uplifting, energetic and inspiring.

However, in a highly-competitive race against a well-known and well-financed opponent, Swanson’s inability to pound the pavement and hustle votes is a great problem for his campaign. An army of volunteers can canvass neighborhood all over the district, but nothing cements the vote like having the actual candidate press the flesh and personally ask for their support.

Ro Khanna with future wife Ritu Ahuja at the
campaign’s kickoff event in August 2015.

HILLARY’S WEDDING INVITE Another round of WikiLeaks emails belonging to John Podesta revealed the campaign 17th District Congressional District candidate Ro Khanna sought the presence of Hillary Clinton at his wedding in Cleveland last fall. Khanna’s campaign co-chair Steve Spinner, a prolific Democratic Party fundraiser, emailed Podesta on Aug. 12, 2015 and laid out the reasons why Clinton’s appearance at the wedding benefited all. For one, Spinner noted, Clinton was already scheduled to be in Cleveland the same day. “I wonder if it would be possible for her to stop by the event for 10 minutes to wish the couple [sic],” wrote Spinner. Clinton’s appearance would also be viewed favorably by Indian American voters and the tech community and posed no risk for injecting Clinton into the contentious South Bay congressional race, Spinner wrote. “She risks no blowback. [Rep. Mike] Honda’s folks would be very petty to criticize Secretary Clinton for wishing a couple on their marriage, particularly given it will be a beautiful ethnic ceremony.” Spinner’s close relationship with President Obama and Clinton is clear, but his emails to Podesta, at least, those posted by WikiLeaks, failed to garner much benefit to Khanna’s campaign. A previously posted email from Spinner asked for Clinton’s endorsement of Khanna. That never happened, but then again, Obama never issued an endorsement this year for Honda, as he did in the 2014 race.

POT MONEY IN AD16 Oakland cannabis interests are hosting a fundraiser next week for 16th Assembly District challenger Cheryl Cook-Kallio. Oakland attorney Robert Raich, who specializes in medical cannabis law, along with Dan Grace, the owner of Dark Heart Nursery, is hosting the event. Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta is also a featured guest at the event asking a top price of $4,200 a person. The late fundraiser is undoubtedly part of the Assembly Democratic leaderships strong push to help Cook-Kallio unseat Republican East Bay Assemblymember Catharine Baker while raising the odds the party can achieve a two-thirds majority. But how will moderate and conservative voters in the district representing places like Walnut Creek and Pleasanton feel about cannabis money flowing to Cook-Kallio? That’s unclear, but it didn’t seem to hurt Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley last June when he trounced Bryan Parker. In that race, which includes just the Alameda County portion of the 16th District, Miley’s campaign was largely fueled by contributions from the cannabis industry.

State Sen. Steve Glazer opposes BART’s Measure
RR infrastructure bond.

GLAZERITES UNITE Public transit strikes are still a hulking issue in Contra Costa County and the Outer East Bay. Seventh District State Sen.Steve Glazer used the issue to win last year’s special election and when it comes to candidates this fall for the BART Board of Directors, he is something of a pied piper. On Thursday, Glazer, along with three who are challenging incumbents, held a press conference at the Lafayette BART station to rail against BART strikes and to voice disapproval of Measure RR, BART’s $3.5 billion infrastructure improvement bond also on the ballot Nov. 8. Glazer says he won’t vote for Measure RR, KPIX reported Glazer’s rationale on Wednesday. ”They’ve negotiated five separate contracts, given excessive raises to managers and workers, and now they say ‘gun to the head’ you must approve RR.” In the meantime, whether any of Glazer’s band of contrarians strike pay dirt on Election Day is not likely.