One of the most sought after seats in Alameda County politics is now up-for-grabs. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election to his Board of Supervisors District 1 seat. Haggerty has served portions of the Tri-Valley and Fremont since 1996.
“It’s been my privilege to serve Alameda County and the Bay Area region over the last 23 years. Its been an incredible run and I cannot adequately express in words my gratitude to all who have supported me through the years. Still so much to do in the next 18 months!” Haggerty wrote on Facebook.
But while Haggerty is viewed privately as having a generous and sensitive personality, the character he played on the dais of the Board of Supervisors was gruff and combative in almost legendary terms.
The sudden announcement is certain to shake-up the East Bay’s political landscape. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors District 1 represents the city’s of Fremont, Dublin, Livermore and the unincorporated areas of East Alameda County.
An open seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is rarely in play and attractive for aspiring candidates because of it steady pay and stability. A member of the Board of Supervisors has not lost re-election in generations and the seat has no term limits.
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With Haggerty’s announcement, he secures one of the oddest factoids in local government, having never faced a single challenger during his five re-election campaigns.
Over the past six month or more, Haggerty has appeared lethargic, at times. Known as one of the most excitable and confrontational elected officials in all of Alameda County politics, his outbursts and biting commentary have largely been absent.
Being on the losing end of a number of votes over the past year has been discouraging for Haggerty, said Shawn Wilson, Haggerty’s chief of staff. Haggerty is typically part of the moderate wing of the Board of Supervisors, along with Supervisor Nate Miley.
Haggerty’s heavy participation in a number of regional commissions has also been taxing, said Wilson. A typically day, might involved Haggerty traveling from his home in Livermore to San Francisco for meetings, then driving to Fremont for an event. All the while, tending to county business.
Prospective candidates interested in Haggerty’s seat do not have much time to contemplate a campaign for the open seat. The primary for this race is Mar. 3, 2020.
Haggerty’s legacy as a supervisor will likely be cast around his work in transportation and taking part in an era of financial stability at the county level. In the midst of a changing economy and one of the most debilitating recessions in U.S. history, the county maintained reserves and never cut a single county job despite record annual deficits.
Haggerty also worked tirelessly to alleviate constant traffic congestion on Interstate 580 and pushed for the completion of the Warm Springs BART station in Fremont, while advocating for BART to Livermore.
Over the decades, Haggerty voiced strong support for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and the agriculture industry that is prevalent in East County.
But while Haggerty is viewed privately as having a generous and sensitive personality, the character he played at the dais of the Board of Supervisors was gruff and combative in almost legendary terms. Never outside the bounds of civility, Haggerty rarely suffered fools. Perhaps, no better example was a 2013 impromptu speech in which Haggerty opposed a county resolution calling for the end of a federal program that critics said targeted undocumented immigrants.
“You don’t know me. You don’t know me. I probably have just as many undocumented friends as you do. Because when I walk out of these chambers, you have no idea where I go. You don’t know what I do,” Haggerty said. In fact, he used the phrase, “You don’t know me” or variations of the line eight times during the diatribe.
Prospective candidates interested in Haggerty’s seat do not have much time to contemplate a campaign for the open seat. The primary for this race is Mar. 3, 2020. Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon, presumably has a leg up on the competition after announcing his campaign for District 1 supervisor last February. But with the political landscape significantly shifting, a number of formidable candidates are likely to enter the race.
Early parlor talk among East Bay insiders point to former Assemblymember Catharine Baker, a Republican, being an early front runner if she chooses to return to politics after her upset re-election defeat last November. Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, a newly registered Democrat, could also be a possibility. Mei is up for re-election as mayor in November 2020.
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