Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern
at a town hall last summer in Hayward
where he faced considerable criticism.

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern has long dismayed East Bay progressives because of his deference to ICE, his support of Urban Shield, and instances of abuse by his deputies, among many gripes.

But despite being the target of so much animus among local progressives, they have found it immensely difficult to not only find a credible candidate willing to challenge him at the ballot box. This election season is no different.

Ahern is running unopposed in the June primary for the fourth time since he took office in 2006 following the retirement of his predecessor, the late Charlie Plummer. Perennial factors that tend to dissuade challengers for sheriff include a prerequisite background in law enforcement and the perception any police officer daring to run against the incumbent sheriff runs the risk of ruining their career.

But some local activists believe they might be able to register their discontent with Ahern by running a write-in candidate this June.

The notion was first posed by Oakland activist Pamela Drake last March. Also a member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, Drake initially proposed on her blog that a symbolic write-in candidate, she named, “MX N.O. Confidence,” should challenge Ahern.

Following reports that residents of unincorporated Alameda County appear to be strongly pushing back at Supervisor Nate Miley‘s directive to have the sheriff’s office take over operation of the Ashland REACH Youth Center, Drake told the East Bay Citizen that she and her progressive colleagues might change their strategy.

Instead, Drake believes a true write-in candidate who holds antithetical attributes and views to Ahern–possibly a woman or minority candidate in mid-to-south county–is a better fit to possibly inspire no-confidence in the sheriff. At minimum, an outlet for some progressives to register their disenchantment with Ahern and his policies.

A prospective write-in candidate has not yet been found, but Drake and her progressive activists still have time. While anyone can simply write a name on the ballot, only write-in candidates who have registered two weeks before June 5 primary election will actually be counted the county registrar’s office.