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Local candidate list for June primary rounding into shape

Baker, DeSaulnier, Swalwell facing challengers, plus races for Contra Costa DA and Superintendent of Schools

Last Friday marked the initial deadline for candidates hoping to win election to various positions on the June 5 primary ballot for the San Ramon Valley.

Races such as U.S. Congressional Districts 11 and 15, State Assembly District 16 and Contra Costa County District Attorney are set, while the contest for Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools had its candidacy deadline extended after the incumbent chose not to seek re-election.

San Ramon's Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) will face two Tri-Valley challengers in his bid for a fourth straight term: Rudy L. Peters Jr., a Republican small business owner and U.S. Navy veteran from Livermore, and Pleasanton resident Brendan St. John, a medical marketing executive running without party preference.

Meanwhile, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) has three challengers in his re-election bid for District 11, which includes Danville and Alamo: Republican small business owner John Fitzgerald, Democrat transportation manager and advocate Dennis Lytton and civil engineer Chris Wood, who listed no party preference.

The top two finishers in the congressional races will face each other in a runoff election in November.

Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-Dublin) is running for her third consecutive term. She will be challenged by a lone Democrat, Orinda attorney Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, who filed her candidacy paperwork on the deadline day last Friday.

Democrat Tom Tarantino, a Walnut Creek resident and an Army veteran, also took out candidacy papers but bowed out of the race and threw his support behind Bauer-Kahan last week.

Because Baker and Bauer-Kahan are the only two candidates in the race, they will see each other again on the November ballot regardless of how many votes each receives in June.

In Contra Costa County-wide elections, interim District Attorney Diana Becton has two challengers in her bid to win her first full term: senior deputy district attorney Paul Graves and Lawrence Steven Strauss, a small-business owner and lawyer.

The county Board of Supervisors appointed Becton, a former Contra Costa County Superior Court judge, last September to complete the unexpired term left vacant when DA Mark Peterson resigned amid a campaign spending scandal and felony conviction. Graves was the board's other top finalist in September.

With incumbent Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata opting not to seek re-election after one term, the deadline to file candidacy paperwork for the position has been extended to Wednesday at 5 p.m.

So far, Concord City Councilman and educator Ron Leone is the only candidate to file for the race, but three others have taken out nomination papers: Sakata's deputy superintendent Lynn Mackey, Mt. Diablo Unified School District board member Cheryl Hansen and Linda Delehunt, an educator and school administrator from Orinda who lost the superintendent election to Sakata in 2014.

In those county races, any candidate who earns more than 50% of the vote in June would be elected outright. Otherwise, the top two candidates after the primary will face each other in a runoff election in November.

Contra Costa County Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell is being again challenged by Ayore Riaunda, an accountant and U.S. Navy reservist. Campbell defeated Riaunda by almost a 4:1 margin in the June 2014 election.

Four other countywide officials won't face challengers in their re-election bid: Assessor Gus S. Kramer, Clerk-Recorder Joseph Canciamilla, Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston and Treasurer-Tax Collector Russell V. Watts.

For Contra Costa County Superior Court, 11 judgeships were up for re-election this June but went unchallenged and will not appear on the ballot.

The San Ramon Valley's two county supervisors, Candace Andersen for District 2 (includes Alamo, Danville and San Ramon) and Diane Burgis for District 3 (includes Blackhawk, Diablo and Tassajara Valley), are not up for re-election this June.

However, two of their Board of Supervisors colleagues are on the ballot. District 1 Supervisor John Gioia filed for re-election without any challengers while District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff is being challenged by Harmesh Kumar, a psychologist and businessman.

The June primary will also feature higher offices such as U.S. Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General and state Board of Equalization. Additionally, there will be a variety of state propositions, bond measures and Regional Measure 3, the proposed Bay Area bridge toll increase to fund traffic congestion relief projects.

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