It’s a Faustian bargain Oakland City Council candidate Sheng Thao might come to regret if she emerges as the winner of the highly-competitive District 4 race next Tuesday.

Thao, the chief of staff for Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, announced Friday afternoon that her campaign has received the endorsement of Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.

“She and I share a commitment to getting illegal guns off our streets, responsive community policing, and reducing crime,” Thao’s campaign said, in a statement. “If elected, I have pledged to work with her on issues of importance to our community including combating human trafficking, and violence against women. As the mother of a young son nothing matters more to me than keeping our kids and our community safe.”

While voters in District 4 will likely greet the O’Malley endorsement in a positive manner, and could potential give Thao’s campaign a late boost at the polls, the backing of the district attorney could prove divisive in a city at-large that harbors mistrust toward law enforcement.

Citywide, a majority of Oakland voters last June voted for O’Malley’s opponent, civil rights attorney Pamela Price, who is running for Oakland mayor on Nov. 6. Despite Oakland’s non-support, O’Malley cruised to a 20-point victory.

Thao Sheng ACDEms
Oakland City Council District 4 candidates, L-R, Nayeli Maxson, Sheng Thao, Pamela Harris, and Charlie Michelson (he suspended his campaign last month) at a candidate forum in Oakland.

Thao is in the middle of a hard-fought District 4 race, along with Nayeli Maxson, Pamela Harris, Joseph Tanios, Matt Hummel, and Joseph Simmons. It’s a race most project to be a toss-up with just days before Election Day.

Further complicating the race is the fact Charlie Michelson, one of the front runners for the seat left open by District 4 Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington, suspended his campaign in early October. However, Michelson remains on the ballot and it is unclear whether most voters know he has since dropped out of the race.