More than a year away from the March 2020 primary election, Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon announced Saturday that he is running to unseat long-time Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.
Bacon, a two-term Fremont councilmember, represents the first time Haggerty will have faced a challenger in his 20 years on the Board of Supervisors. In four previous re-election campaigns, dating back to 2002, Haggerty has run unopposed.
“I’m curious as to why no one else has tried this because there are a number of weaknesses in my opponent that I can call out and I have a pretty strong platform to run on,” Bacon said Saturday in Union City. “I think I’ve got a good shot.”
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors District 1 represents Fremont, Dublin, Livermore, Sunol, and includes vast amounts of rural lands stretching across Eastern Alameda County.
For nearly four decades, incumbents at the county-level have held a strong grip on power. Therefore, history is not on Bacon’s side, a fact he acknowledges. In recent years, two well-funded candidates, Bryan Parker and Pamela Price, appeared to have run competitive campaigns for Alameda County supervisor and district attorney only to fail miserably at the ballot box.
Bacon said his campaign will focus on quality of life issues in the supervisorial district, including traffic congestion, housing, and over-crowding of schools. Each item has proven to be a winning combination for Bacon in Fremont and he believes voters unfamiliar with him in Livermore and Dublin have the same concerns. “Obviously, its brand new territory,” he said of the Tri-Valley portion of District 1.
Furthermore, Bacon said he will be a vocal opponent of Senate Bill 50, which proposes higher density housing near transit centers and the CASA Compact, a regional strategy to promote the building of new housing and combatting homelessness.
“I think it’s key issue and my opponent has been involved with [the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)] and they are the ones pushing this,” Bacon said of the CASA Compact. Haggerty is currently vice-chair of MTC.
“It’s a gift to developer and maybe a little money thrown at affordable housing,” he said, referring to the CASA Compact. “I think taking away local control is wrong.”
Additionally, Bacon said he will stand firm with a pledge against accepting campaign contributions from housing developers and Political Action Committees (PACs), labor unions included, he said. The pledge has been a hallmark of his campaigns since he first ran for the Fremont City Council in 2008. “Left, right, and center–everyone agrees money in politics is a bad thing and we need to get it out,” he said.
“I want to avoid basically anyone or a corporation that has a financial interest in the decisions I make. Any development I vote for or against is because it’s best for Fremont. That’s what is going on in my head. I’m not thinking, ‘I’ve got this developer who donated heavily or this organization that I need to appease.'”
Money, though, will be needed to run a credible campaign against Haggerty, who despite his lack of electoral experience, is expected to raise large amounts of campaign contributions over the next year. “I’m sure I will be outspent quite heavily, but that doesn’t worry me,” said Bacon.
Bacon filed an intent to run for supervisor last week in order to begin his fundraising effort and already has a rudimentary campaign website up.
Over the next year, Bacon plans to introduce himself to new voters through a positive lens, but expect a hard knuckle campaign later this year, he adds. “I do not shy away from negative campaigning especially if you are going after an incumbent. You have to come out as say this person needs to be replaced. That is the argument you are making.”