By Tim Hunt
More twists in state Senate special election raceUploaded: Feb 3, 2015
The race for the final two years of Mark DeSaulnier's term in the state Senate grows more interesting by the day.
Of course, that assumes anyone but real political insiders is paying attention to the March 17 special election in the 7th Senate (representing the Tri-Valley area plus Lafayette-Orinda, Concord and eastern Contra Costa County.
The latest development is the surprise Republican in the race, Michaela Hertle of Pleasanton, announced her withdrawal from the campaign (her name will still be on the ballot). She threw her support to Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer, another last-minute entry. Hertle came to the same conclusion that Mark Meuser, the Walnut Creek Republican who had announced he will run, dida seat with a 15-point Democratic advantage is not friendly to Republicans. It was her first run for elected office.
Glazer reportedly also sent a fundraising email that cited the support of Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne. When I contacted Thorne directly by email, he wrote that he had not formally endorsed anyone, "but I am strongly leaning towards Glazer. He shares my views on labor relations and he is the most fiscally conservative serious candidate in the race."
If Glazer can peel off Republican votes, that could propel him into the expected May 31 run-off.
Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla formally won the endorsement of the state Democratic Party, adding to her already substantial list of endorsers. Given Glazer's position on no BART strikes, he would have been wasting his time to ask for the party backing.
The other Democrat in the race with a substantial elected history is termed out Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan of the Alamo, who represented the Tri-Valley in the 16th Assembly District for six years. She has the top name recognition among the candidates, although Glazer was a strong second at 49 percentno doubt the product of the brutal June primary last year where he duked it out with former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti.
The key for any of the top candidates will be identifying their voters and getting them to cast ballotsas well as seeing if they picking up the independents and the Republicans votes. Registration is 43.5 percent Democrat; 28.6 percent Republican and 22 percent independent.
The real battle may be for the 50 percent non-Democrats.