A pair of updated results in the highly competitive 16th Assembly District race Friday was enough to show Republican East Bay Assemblymember Catharine Baker the writing was on the wall.
Baker, who was first elected to the assembly in 2014, conceded the election to Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan in message to supporters Friday evening.
“I want to share with you that I have just called my opponent, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, to congratulate her on winning election to the State Assembly for District 16, and to wish her success. While there remain many ballots to count, the outcome is not expected to change,” wrote Baker. “It has been the honor of my life to represent our community, a community I love in a state I love.”
Updated results Friday show Bauer-Kahan with 104,182 votes, and Baker with 101,669–a difference of 2,513 votes. On Thursday, Baker’s lead had slowly, but consistently dropped to 159 votes.
The stunning result in the 16th District was not on the radar of potential Election Night upsets. Bauer-Kahan, an Orinda resident and first-time candidate, lost a head-to-head matchup to Baker in the June primary by 13 percentage points.
But extremely high turnout for a mid-term election and dissatisfaction with the Republican brand in an assembly district with a large number of independent No Party Preference voters, are both viewed as fueling Bauer-Kahan’s surprise win.
News of Baker’s defeat amounts to resounding defeat for the struggling local Republican Party in both Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Sue Caro, the Alameda County Republican Party chair, who was one of the first to support Baker’s insurgent run four years ago, lamented the loss on Twitter. “This one hurts a lot,” she wrote.