AD16 Assemblymember Catharine Baker
will face Dem Rebecca Bauer-Kahan are
the only candidates in the June 5 primary.

In some parts of the state where Democrats are hoping to upend Republican seat holders, aspiring candidates are running the risk of diluting their electoral strength by having too many candidates run in the Top Two primary. This is not the case in the East Bay’s 16th Assembly District, the perennial lone moderate battleground, where Republican Assemblymember Catharine Baker is again facing a concerted effort by Democrats to challenge her re-election.

Just prior to Friday’s June primary filing deadline, Twitter executive Tom Tarantino announced he would not join fellow Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan in challenging Baker. The move ensures Baker and Bauer-Kahan will meet in both the June and November elections.

Tom Tarantino dropped out of the
race Friday but not before raising
$55,000 last year.

“From the beginning, my campaign has been about serving the community where I live and will be raising a family. I believe that we need representation in Sacramento that not only matches the values of AD 16, but has the ability to get things done for our community. This has always been about the mission and not about me,” said Tarantino, in a statement.

“As this race has progressed, it has become clear that the best way to defeat the incumbent is to mount an aggressive campaign to flip this seat far ahead of the June primary. Serving the greater good has always been my prerogative, and because of this I have decided to withdraw my candidacy for this seat.”

Over the past few months it had become increasingly clear that local Democrats were coalescing around Bauer-Kahan, an immigration attorney who helped coordinate the legal effort last January at San Francisco International Airport that followed the Muslim travel ban sought by the Trump administration.

Bauer-Kahan has earned a number of endorsements from local Democratic clubs and received the all-important backing of the California State Democratic Party last month. She previously received the backing of local moderate standard-bearer, Joan Buchanan, the last Democrat to hold the seat.

Despite Democrats holding 41 percent of registered voters in the district, a roughly 13-point advantage over Republicans, the presence of another 24 percent of undeclared voters has aided Baker’s rise. Her first two terms in office have also, on balance, been more moderate and less dogmatic than the rest of her Republican caucus.

Baker also hold a significant fundraising advantage after raising $900,000 in 2017, according to year-end financial reports, with $641,000 in cash on hand. Bauer-Kahan, meanwhile, raised just $56,000 last year, with $44,625 in cash.

The split among AD16 Democrat was noticeable on the fundraising front. Tarantino raised nearly identical fundraising numbers last year, reported $55,000 in total contributions and $33,000 cash in hand.