Earlier this week, all three female candidates in the Oakland City Council District 6 campaign officially banded together in order to defeat incumbent Councilmember Desley Brooks. Under the city’s ranked choice voting system, team work such as this is encouraged. Furthermore, all remember Oakland’s first use of ranked choice voting delivered Jean Quan’s huge upset over Don Perata for mayor in 2010.
Under slightly different circumstances, the three women running in the open District 4–Nayeli Maxson, Sheng Thao, and Pamela Harris–released a video Saturday evening clearly instructing voters to pick them in any combination of first, second, or third. They call themselves the “Women’s Leadership Slate.”
What separates the one-minute video from most ranked choice slates is how effusive each candidate is in praising each other. Maxson lauds Thao; Thao applauds Harris; and Harris celebrates Maxson in the video. Typically, a ranked choice slate of candidates chooses to highlight the partnership, but focus on their own campaigns.
The trio also applauds the last three District 4 councilmembers–Annie Campbell Washington, Libby Schaaf, and Jean Quan. The irony, though, is the apparent impetus of the slate is to block the fourth candidate in the race, Oakland businessman Charlie Michelson, whose campaign is backed by Mayor Schaaf.
In District 6, Brooks’ challengers–Natasha Middleton, Marlo Rodriguez, and Mya Whitaker–formed a similar voting bloc that left out Loren Taylor, who has, by far, the most well-financed campaign in the race, including the incumbent Brooks. Taylor, like Michelson in District 4, is endorsed by Schaaf.
But unlike the women in District 4, who have been touting their partnership for a few months, the group in District 6 are only now clearly articulating their ranked choice strategy to voters.