The plethora of viable candidates in the Alameda County Board of Supervisors race in District 1 made it unlikely any of them would receive enough support from Alameda County Democrats to win their crucial endorsement.
The prognostication turned out correct Wednesday night when the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee voted “no endorsement” in the race to replace retiring Supervisor Scott Haggerty in the Tri-Valley and Fremont seat.
State Sen. Bob Wieckowski came within three votes of securing the requisite 60 percent of the votes cast Wednesday night. Wieckowski, who is termed out of his state senate in 2022, received support from 22 out 41 voting members of the central committee.
Dublin Vice Mayor Melissa Hernandez received nine votes, followed by Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon with five. In addition, five members voted for “no endorsement.” The fourth candidate in the race, Dublin Mayor David Haubert, was not eligible for the endorsement. Haubert is registered as “No Party Preference.”
While the valuable party endorsement is off the table during the March primary, the fact Wieckowski came so close to winning it, may prove a shot-in-the-arm for his campaign. In recent weeks, there has been talk of labor’s flagging support for his supervisorial campaign. At the same time, there has been renewed interest in Hernandez’s campaign.
Early large campaign contributions (those over $1,000, which are required to be reported within 48 hours of receipt by the campaign) show Hernandez with a potential financial windfall. Her campaign has reported nearly $65,000 in large contributions since early December, according to Form 497s filed with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
Wieckowski has reported $19,000 in large contributions from roughly the same time period, including $12,000 from the Service Employee International Union Local 1021 on Dec. 26. Full campaign finance reports won’t be released until the end of this month.
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But during Wednesday’s endorsement meeting, essentially a mini-candidate forum, Wieckowski appeared confident and Bacon feisty. Hernandez, meanwhile, appeared hesitant. For instance, reading her opening statement from notes.
Alameda County Supervisors Nate Miley (District 4) and Keith Carson (District 5) were also endorsed by the local party.
ALAMEDA COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Alameda County Democrats don’t often turn away incumbents, but they did so Wednesday in the Alameda-centered Ward 2 county board of education race. The central committee overwhelmingly voted to back Angela Normand, a member of the California Teachers Association, over the incumbent Amber Childress, who is backed by charter schools.
Four years ago, Childress’ upset over then-incumbent Marlon McWilson was one of the biggest upsets of the election cycle. In a classy move, McWilson gave Childress his endorsement Wednesday night. “I put kids at the forefront of my decision-making,” McWilson told county Democrats, despite his own support for public schools. It did no good for the central committee, which is overwhelmingly opposed to charters schools.
In Ward 4, which is predominately represented by Hayward, county Democrats voted to endorse former Hayward school board member Lisa Brunner for the seat being vacated by retired county board member Fred Sims.
ALAMEDA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
Alameda County Democrats were impressed by Superior Court judicial candidate Mark Fickes, giving him the endorsement over Elena Condes on Wednesday night. Fickes highlighted the need for the court to open up its courtrooms across the county for defendants, some of whom may have to travel long distances for their hearings. Condes’ campaign is endorsed by Superior Court Judge Carol Brosnahan, who is retiring after 40 years on the bench in Alameda County. Administrative law judge Lilla Szelenyi is the third candidate in the race