That result followed the recall of three woke school board members who frustrated parents by debating renaming schools instead of getting students back in classrooms. Those results bely what you’d expect from progressive San Francisco, home to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and formative political turf for both Vice-President Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Here in the East Bay, the June primary set up some interesting races in Alameda County come November. Not so, in Contra Costa County where incumbent progressive District Attorney Diana Becton easily topped prosecutor Mary Knox by a 56-44 margin, winning re-election. Sheriff David Livingston, who comes from the opposite side of the political spectrum, won re-election by an even wider 61-39 margin. Both Becton and Livingston had been criticized for actions or non-actions so there was fodder for opposition campaigns, but both won new four-year terms.
It was a different story in Alameda County where the open District Attorney’s office will pit progressive attorney Pamela Price against the top assistant in the DA’s office, Terry Wiley. Price, who ran against incumbent Nancy O’Malley four years ago (O’Malley chose to retire and not seek re-election), won 40% of the vote in a four-way race. Wiley ran second at 31% while fellow prosecutor Jimmie Wilson received 21%.
Although the top vote-getter in June, Price likely will find the two-way race more challenging. It’s difficult to imagine a Wilson voter backing her in the general election, although the extremely low turnout (11%) is an unknown dynamic. With Newsom cruising through the primary and expected to do the same in the general—same goes for Sen. Alex Padilla—the question will be if down ballot elections and local races can attract citizens’ attention.
One sure bet: there will be a flood of money spent on the dueling online betting initiatives—television ads already have been running.
When it comes to the Alameda County Sheriff’s race, incumbent Sheriff Greg Ahern finished second, well behind Sheriff’s Commander Yessenia Sanchez. He received 37% to her 47%. Progressive San Francisco officer Joann Walker received 17%. Given Sanchez’s strong showing Ahern has his work cut out to retain an office he’s held for 16 years. This is the first time a senior officer has challenged an incumbent sheriff since Dennis Jeffrey ran against Sheriff Glen Dyer in 1982.
Meanwhile, as would be expected, three incumbents topped the race for four seats on the Zone 7 Water Agency board. Dennis Gambs and Olivia Sanwong won their second terms, while Sarah Palmer was elected for her fifth term. They will be joined by former Dublin San Ramon Services board member Dawn Benson. All four campaigned while the fifth person in the race did not.
Former Pleasanton City Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio easily topped two challengers to win a Livermore Valley seat on the county school board. The seat was open and sparked an aggressive campaign from former charter school principal Eric Dillie and private school founder Kate Dao and Cook-Kallio.