The 9th Senate District race is on

With Tuesday’s defeat of Proposition 93, the term-limits reform measure, state Senate President Don Perata, D-Oakland, will be termed out of office this year, and so the campaigns of those seeking to replace him are firing up on all cylinders.

hancock.jpgAs Steve Harmon noted in his story today, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, will face off in June’s Democratic primary election against former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland; the winner will almost certainly take the seat in November, as the district’s overwhelmingly Democratic registration makes a Republican victory almost unthinkable.

I’ve just now received a news release from Loni Hancock’s campaign — which like Chan’s has largely dormant until they knew whether Perata would be viable for another term — noting that she raised $500,506 in contributions last year. “I am thankful for this show of support from across the district,” she says in the release. “Together we can face the challenges of our generation — quality and accessible health care, a clean environment, and a first rate school system.”

chan.jpgBut a glance at the Secretary of State’s database shows Chan raised $164,834 last year, leaving her with $526,641.16 cash on hand at 2007’s end. Hancock finished the year with less — $343,906.73 — having already spent four times as much as Chan.

Keep watching those accounts; I’m betting money’s going to start pouring into one or both of them now that Perata is surely termed out.

perata.jpgBut don’t cry for him, Argentina — he has $164,002.28 stashed away in his “Taxpayers for Perata” committee, ostensibly so he can run for the Board of Equalization in 2010. Yeah, right — that committee spent $189,987.95 in 2007, almost half of which went to Perata’s legal defense fund for an ongoing federal anti-corruption probe, and the rest to maintaining his current political activities.

Board of Equalization, my heiny. But surely he intends to run for something in coming years. Maybe… Mayor of Oakland? Or, perhaps depending on how deftly he handles the state budget crisis this summer, one of the statewide constitutional offices?

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.