Some names have disappeared from the endorsement list on the Web site of Wilma Chan, the former Assemblywoman facing off against current Assemblywoman Loni Hancock in the June 3 Democratic primary to succeed state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata — names including Perata himself.
Perata earlier had granted a dual endorsement to both Chan and Hancock in this 9th State Senate District race, both of whom generally have been his allies in the Legislature. Perata had been singing Chan’s praises for years, including right after she helped him nail down a judicial ruling cementing his right to seek a final four-year term in 2004.
But now Perata’s name and face are gone from Chan’s endorsement list, and I’ve got a copy of a letter Perata sent to Hancock last week praising her as “far and away the best person for the job.” Perata’s political consultant returned my e-mail message this afternoon confirming the letter’s authenticity, but wrote that he couldn’t break out of a meeting to discuss with me who Perata actually now endorses.
Also gone from Chan’s endorsement list is Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson — a notable name, given Chan’s base of support in the island city she calls home — and Oakland School Board member Alice Spearman. There’s not much ambiguity about why they’re gone from the list; both Johnson and Spearman apparently sent letters to Chan last Thursday expressing their support for Hancock and demanding that Chan remove their names from all Chan campaign materials immediately. “Any failure to abide by my request will force me to take immediate legal action,” Spearman wrote. Ouch.
Spearman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but Johnson told me tonight she had endorsed Chan “a couple of years ago” yet recently decided Hancock’s the better choice; she said she sent the letter to Chan on Thursday and talked with her Friday, and that all was amicable as Chan assured her that her name would be removed from the campaign’s Web site and literature.
Two Chan campaign staffers haven’t yet returned phone calls and e-mails about this; watch for updates if and when they do.
UPDATE @ 4:40 P.M. WEDNESDAY: I talked with Wilma Chan today about another story; she said she didn’t want to comment specifically on this, but has “found the endorsement process to be very transactional… I think the most important part is bringing your message to the voters and letting them choose between two candidates.”
UPDATE @ 3:22 P.M. THURSDAY MAY 22: Re-dual-endorsed!