AD15: Is Buffy Wicks getting nervous?

Democratic 15th Assembly District candidate Buffy Wicks moves on to November.

In a tight race among 12 candidates fighting for two spots in the November General Election, mudslinging can come from multiple campaigns and in multiple directions. But 15th Assembly District candidate Buffy Wicks, one of the presumed front-runners in the June primary, may have indicated Monday that months of attacks against her are taking a toll with just two weeks to Election Day.

Wicks pushed back at incessant attacks and whispers against her campaign in an opinion piece Monday that seeks to set the record straight about her true stance on charter schools and specifically whether the loads of funding flowing in support of her campaign is backed by those interests.

In a post on Medium, Wicks swatted away suggestions proffered privately by some of her opponents and progressive groups in the East Bay that she is pro-charter school and that the source of an IE supporting her campaign named Govern for California also backs charter schools.

“I have said that I will not accept any donations from charter school advocacy organizations. I have not accepted any such donations, and I will not,” Wicks wrote in the post using a “Myth vs. Fact” format.

Worries about a connection between Wicks and charter schools was evident in early February when results of her campaign’s internal polling posed a number of questions on the subject, in addition, to seemingly gauging how much the candidate should highlight her past connections to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Later, Wicks denied that Govern for California is a pro-charter advocacy group and pointed to their support for a number of well-known state and national Democrats. “Govern for California donors have also given to many Democratic and progressive leaders including Senator Kamala Harris, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor Jerry Brown, Senator Elizabeth Warren and President Obama,” she wrote. “GFC’s donor network supports a number of our state’s progressive legislators including Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, and countless other pro-Labor progressive legislators.”

However, perhaps fostering mistrust among some groups, including teachers’ union, is the fact Govern for California has also given to local statewide officials, some representing the same area, who are notoriously pro-charter and perceived as anti-union. The group has given contributions to State Sen. Steve Glazer this year, who represents a large portion of the 15th Assembly District and is loathed by public employees for his strong stance against BART stikes; Contra Costa County Assemblymember Tim Grayson and Republican Assemblymember Catharine Baker.

But Wicks’ piece may also suggest swirling confusion among some voters about her education platform is hurting her campaign. The clear beneficiary of such skepticism would clearly be Berkeley school board member Judy Appel, who is backed by teachers’ unions.

Although the race in the 15th District is potentially up for grabs among six or seven different credible candidates, over the past few weeks Appel appears to be surging. While there is not yet is a consensus for which two candidates will advance to November among East Bay politicos, a general sense that two women would prevail is leading to some that the pair may be Wicks and Appel.

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