There’s no lack of drama in the East Bay’s suddenly riveting contest in the 16th Assembly District. Signs that a monumental upset is brewing gained steam as Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan pulled to within 205 votes of Assemblymember Catharine Baker, the East Bay’s lone Republican state legislator.
The blue tide behind the back of Bauer-Kahan’s campaign has been clear since the weekend. On Sunday, her upstart campaign which many in East Bay paid little attention to until only recently, crept to 627 votes behind Baker.
The total fell again to 526 votes on Monday, 339 on Tuesday before reaching a 205-vote deficit following an update Wednesday evening by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. Overall, Baker leads Bauer-Kahan 85,495 to 85,290, or 50.06 percent to 49.94 percent.
In the Alameda County portion of the 16th District, Baker still maintains a slight advantage, but it continues to shrink. Baker leads Bauer-Kahan, 50.43 percent to 49.57 percent, a difference of 656 votes in Alameda County.
Bauer-Kahan, meanwhile tops Baker in Contra Costa County by virtually the same difference. Contra Costa County, however, has not updated its total since Nov. 9. An new total is expected this Friday.
If the two trends continue to hold, the likelihood of an upset by Bauer-Kahan appears very favorable for a candidate who lost to Baker in the June primary by more than 13 percentage points.
East Bay insiders say Bauer-Kahan’s decision to highlight Baker’s Republican party affiliation is one key to getting the campaign to the cusp of an improbable victory.
The 16th District is notoriously moderate. It’s a reason why Baker, a moderate conservative, has been able to win two terms over Democratic opponent with far more accomplished political resumes than Bauer-Kahan. Baker easily defeated former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti in 2004 and former Pleasanton Councilmember Cheryl Cook-Kallio two years later.
But the extremely sullied image of the national Republican Party appears to have persuaded undecided 16th District voters to embrace the Democrat. High voter turnout is also amplifying the shift to Bauer-Kahan, they say.