Part of the Bay Area News Group

Target Book lists AD15 as No. 4 race in California

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 at 6:06 pm in 2008 November election, California Legislature, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

The California Target Book’s August Hot Sheet lists Assembly District 15 as the No. 4 ranked race in a list of seven competitive Assembly seats where Democrats have the potential to pick up a formerly Republican-held post.

Why is seven the magic number?

Democrats need to pick up six seats in order to have a two-thirds majority in the Assembly and have the ability to pass a budget or raise taxes without relying on Republican votes to meet the two-thirds threshold.

In Assembly District 15, Democrat and San Ramon Valley School Board Trustee Joan Buchanan is running against Republican and San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson. The seat is currently occupied by soon-to-be-termed-out Assemblyman Guy Houston of San Ramon, the only Republican holding a partisan seat in the Bay Area.

Democrats have overtaken Republicans, albeit by less than 2 percentage points, in party registration in this district, which stretches across four counties. (Click here to see a map.)

Buchanan holds the fund-raising lead per the most recent campaign finance reports but it’s a misleading figure because she had nominal competition in the June primary election. Wilson, on the other hand, had three strong competitors. And as the Target Book correctly points out, the high stakes on the outcome of this race for the two parties will almost certainly draw significant dollars into both campaigns.

The other top six competitive Assembly districts and their rankings, per the Target Book, are (click on the AD link to see a map of the district):

No. 1: AD30, Democrat Fran Florez vs. Republican Danny Gilmore

No. 2: AD80, Democrat Manuel Perez vs. Republican Gary Jeandron

No. 3: AD78, Democrat Marty Block vs. Republican John McCann

No. 4: AD15, Democrat Joan Buchanan vs. Republican Abram Wilson

No. 5: AD26, Democrat John Eisenhut vs. Republican William Berryhill

No. 6: AD10, Democrat Alyson Huber vs. Republican Jack Sieglock

No. 7: AD37, Democrat Ferial Masry vs. Republican Audra Strickland (incumbent)

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • http://www.constitutionalrepublicans.org/ Walter, GOP Livermore City-Chair

    I sure would like to see the Republicans go 7 for 7! If they don’t the Democrats will run wild in the Assembly, pushing tax hikes and more regulations for all of us. Can it get any worse?

    Of course it can! While the Democrats busy themselves preparing to work towards getting other Democrats elected… The Republican Party is busy suing their own volunteers.

    Alameda Co Republican Party Chairman, Paul Cummings has threatened to file a lawsuit against the Registrar of Voters and seven individual Republicans elected by Alameda Co voters in California’s June 3rd Primary to serve on the Alameda Co Republican Central Committee.

    Chairman Paul Cummings wants to challenge the certification of the vote that was made by the Registrar of Voters. The seven Republicans, in dispute, have also been threatened by Chairman Paul Cummings that he will sue for court costs and attorney fees if they contest the lawsuit.

    These tactics being used by the Chairman have raised questions, from within, regarding the true intent of his threatened lawsuit. Since Central Committee seats are volunteer positions (all work, no pay) some slots remain vacant post election and need to be filled by Central Committee vote.

    Why would the Alameda Co Republican Party Chairman be resisting Republican volunteers when they can’t even get enough support to fill the seats on the Central Committee? Sounds like Chairman Paul Cummings is trying to pick and choose for the voters, post election. What the heck is going on here?

    Click on the link below for more info and to read the official Press Release…

    http://www.ConstitutionalRepublicans.org/

    *Look for BREAKING NEWS and click on the link provided.

    Volunteer for the Republican Party and Get Sued!

    Help Elect Democrats, Sue Republicans!

  • David

    It’s a disaster! Chairman Cummings might as well endorse Buchanan and McNernery! You’d think a party chairman would be welcoming newcomers into the fold rather than greeting them with costly lawsuits. The Republican Party is having a hard enough time motivating it’s base as it is. If Wilson and Andal lose in a close race, they may have Chariman Cummings to thank for it.

  • Renegade GOP

    Oh boy another GOP central committee is a shambles. So what is new at disfunction central. If Wilson prevals or not it won’t be because of the central commitee. Those folks live in an isolated little world of issues and arguments and get nothing done. They are on their own island arguing with each other.

  • RR

    The Central Committee of the Communist Party (USA) gave central comm.s a bad name.

  • http://www.constitutionalrepublicans.org/ Walter, GOP Livermore City-Chair

    “RR” Did the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party sue his own volunteers?

    Paul Cummings, the Alameda County Republican Party Chairman, tells Republican volunteers (for his Committee) that he will file a lawsuit against the Registrar of Voters, contesting the certification of 7 of the 28 Republicans elected to the Central Committee and that they would be included in the lawsuit as co-defendants. Oh yea the Chairman also explained to 5 of the 7 Republican co-defendants, that he would seek (sue for) court cost reimbursement and attorney fees in the lawsuit, if any of the 7 Republicans contested it in court.

    “RR” I don’t know much about the Communist Party Central Committee, other than it probably stands for the opposite of what I stand for, but I do know that Chairman Paul Cummings of the Alameda County Republican Party Central Committee is setting a new standard for giving his Central Committee a bad name… truth be told… There may be some on the Alameda County Republican Party Central Committee that don’t agree with the Chairman’s actions or his counter-productive lawsuit… Some might not even know? For that reason, I wouldn’t want the reputation of the entire Alameda County Republican Party Central Committee to be suspect. Most of the Republicans that I have met at their meetings, seem to be good, respectable conservatives and I can appreciate that. GOP 2008!

    http://www.ConstitutionalRepublicans.org/

    http://republican.meetup.com/596/

  • rew golfer

    I’m a blue collar worker and I usually vote Democratic. But I don’t like one-party rule. Having Republicans in the legislature tempers the excesses of the Democrats, so I think it would be a negative thing to have only Dem’s from the bay area in Sacramento. Idealy though you want to have moderate Republicans, rather than right wing nut cases. I think Wilson fits the bill as the kind of moderate Republican they need in Sacramento. But actually, both these candidates are terrific.

  • New World GOP

    When wilson wins and Andal loses conservativism in the
    tri valley will finally be dead.

    Walter, GOP Livermore City-Chair maybe you could tell us why Paul Cummings is sueing newly elected central commitee members? Sounds weird to me.

  • http://www.constitutionalrepublicans.org/ Walter, GOP Livermore City-Chair

    New World GOP – I think Dean Andal has a great chance of pulling it off in CD-11. Republicans like him and he had a pretty strong show of support in the Primary.

    I would like to see the Wilson Campaign be more aggressive, esp. in Livermore which is the biggest city in the 15th AD, and the key to winning the race. With Matt DelCarlo as Wilson’s Campaign Manager, I’d say that we should see an effective and coordinated effort in these last few months leading up to the election.

    I’ll tell you one thing though… If Andal or Wilson end up loosing in close races, you may as well rest the blame on the shoulders of Alameda County Republican Party Chairman, Paul Cummings.

    Chairman Cummings, a former registered Democrat and self-proclaimed “Liberal Republican” has filed a lawsuit against the Registrar of Voters and 10 Republican volunteers that ran for seats on the 30 Member Republican Central Committee, 7 of which actually won seats.

    The 10 Constitutional Republicans, that are be sued by Chairman Cummings, are a part of a larger group made-up of citizen volunteers (everyday people) that took the whole Central Committee by surprise, running 18 candidates and winning 12 total seats on the Central Committee in the June 3rd Primary.

    It is important to note that in just about every election, a number of Central Committee seats usually remain vacant after the vote due to lack of participation from the public. This is because of several factors such as, it’s a volunteer position-all work and no pay, not very many people have even heard of a Central Committee, candidates must meet deadlines and gather signatures, and now, because of team-players
    like Chairman Paul Cummings, even defend themselves against lawsuits.

    Chairman Cummings is suing these Republican volunteers based on CA Election Code sec. 8001 which has to do with, the dates that candidates were registered with the Party that they seek to run for; and it requires the Registrar of Voters to certify that the candidates meet these qualifications.

    Chairman Cummings alleges that some of the “elected” and “certified” Republicans were not Republicans 3 months prior to declaring their candidacy to run for Central Committee.

    In my opinion some of these technicalities, conserning the law, are petty esp. when we’re talking about the Republican Party, which could use all the support it can get in Alameda County.

    Republicans from within the Party are beginning to question the Chairman’s actions and his overall intentions for pushing this lawsuit. Some have pointed-out that the Chairman’s tactics are nothing more than an attempt to resist unknown volunteers, which seems counter-productive to the needs of the Republican Party and detrimental to the Chairman’s own Central Committee that seems to be lacking enough support to transact any official business. You would think a Chairman in that type of situation would have enough sense to welcome any help that he could get. The Constitutional Republicans are planning to defend themselves against the Chairman’s lawsuit because it means that much to us to serve on the Republican Central Committee. You can all view our website to see what we’re all about at:

    http://www.ConstitutionalRepublicans.org/

    Join the Meetup Group, if you’d like at:

    http://republican.meetup.com/596/

    It’s too bad for the Republican Party and the Republican candidates that are running in our area, because their campaigns are suffering due to the lack of support coming from a Central Committee, directed by poor leadership, that can’t even attract enough people to fill the total number of seats, or get enough members to attend their meetings to transact any offical business.

    The Alameda County Republican Party’s motto is, “Building Our Republican Party”… I’m not exactly sure what they mean by that when the Chairman is suing people that just wanted to help-out.

    I guess you’ll have to “Apply to Join this Chairman’s Country-Club”… good luck… I hope you’ve got a good attorney!

    “GOP CHAIRMAN PAUL CUMMINGS, HELPING THE DEMOCRATS WIN THE ELECTION”

  • New World GOP

    Walter I agree that Republicans are creating a circular firing squad for themselves in Alameda.
    Volunteers if they support the candidates of the party and work for them should be apreciated period.

    As for Andal he is running as a DC republican and that won’t fly right now. Look for McNerny to win in 08 and lose in 2010 when the GOP finally runs someone who is more populist and less willing to be in the old boys club in DC.

    As for Paul Cummings helping to elect Democrats I say check out a fellow named Bush in the White House.
    He has done a lot more to help the Democrats than Cummings could possibly dream of. Remember the Bush visit to Pombo during the 06 election cycle?

    But if you want to be really Machiavelli then how about a conspricy of the Alameda County registar to destroy the Alameda GOP by getting “non-qualified” candidates on the central commitee ballot!! HA!

    The bottom line is that the Alameda GOP is at 16% registration and is basically about as much a functioning a party as is the SF GOP. This is nothing more than a tempest in a tea pot. Why don’t you start a campaign to have southern Alameda county join contra Costa County. Then you might become relavent!!

    Good luck defending the Lawsuit!!

  • Troublemaker

    Walter, GOP Livermore City-Chair,

    You lost all credibility when you stated; “With Matt DelCarlo as Wilson’s Campaign Manager, I’d say that we should see an effective and coordinated effort in these last few months leading up to the election.”

    DelCarlo is a joke, and anyone that has ever met him knows that. He is lazy, juvenile and lacks respect. He ran Houston’s unsucessful campaign (remember the GUY who had never lost an election)?

    Word on the street is that Wilson’s biggest mistake is going with Del Carlo. It will cost him much needed support and probably the election.

  • Renegade GOP

    Welcome home Troublemaker! We haven’t seen you since the Piepho Campaign. Yes Matt got his butt kicked. But you vastly over state the case against him. Were you as critical of him when he was M. Piepho’s campaign manager in 2004 and she won against the incumbant supervisor by 15 points?

    As I said many times the battle for AD 15 is the GOP’s last stand for a partisan seat in the Tri-San Ramon Valley. Thinking Republicans are not going to turn against Wilson based on his choice of campaign managers. The issues and the stakes are too big. Del Carlo will come through this with a win and move on to bigger projects.

    The Piepho people should learn a good lesson, don’t be sore winners. (Check the 1996 Leach or any Bill Baker campaign) It doesn’t help you in the future when you have to run future race and you need different coalitions.

    Houston and Del Carlo went for an opportunity that was available to any other citizen and lost. That is OK and it is time to move on.

  • http://www.constitutionalrepublicans.org/ Walter, GOP Livermore City-Chair

    *This was an article that ran in todays ANG Newspapers*

    -Republicans Battle Among Themselves- Aug.16,2008

    *Chairman files suit to remove seven elected members on committee, By Matthew Artz

    Two months after a coalition of Minutemen and Ron Paul supporters nearly won a majority of the seats on the Alameda County Republican Central Committee, the committee chairman is filing suit to keep them from taking their seats.

    In court papers, Chairman Paul Cummings alleges that 10 members of the upstart Republican group, including seven of the 13 who won seats in the June election, hadn’t been registered as Republicans long enough to hold membership in the committee.

    The lawsuit, which names Registrar Dave MacDonald and the 10 candidates as defendants, asks that the elections of the seven victorious candidates be voided and their seats declared vacant.

    The victors had been participating in committee affairs even though they won’t officially join the committee until November.

    The inter-party battle could hurt local Republican candidates in November. The defendants, and their supporters, have decided to boycott all activities for local Republicans, said Walter Stanley, one of the committee members named in the suit.

    They are also planning to protest at the next committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Stanley said.

    The two Republican camps fought publicly during the June campaign.

    Cummings said the candidates needed to put in more time with the party before running for central committee, while Stanley’s contingent said committee incumbents were too supportive of big business and unwilling to take strong stands against illegal immigration and free trade agreements.

    However the shotgun marriage had been working reasonably well, with the newly elected members proving to be excellent volunteers, Cummings said. He even said he would appoint most, if not all, of them to the committee if he wins the lawsuit.

    Asked why he bothered to file suit if he planned to let them back on board, Cummings said he needed to hold the registrar of voters accountable.

    “This is between us and the registrar, ” he said. “(MacDonald) is basically capriciously enforcing the election law.”

    Stanley questioned Cummings sincerity.

    “He just wants to appoint his buddies to fill the vacancies,” he said.

    The registrar’s office did not return a phone call Friday afternoon.

    Central Committees don’t make policy or endorse candidates in party primaries. Their primary mission is to raise money for candidates, get people registered and turn out the vote.

    Committee candidates must be members of that party for at least three months before filing if they previously had been independents, or for one year if they had belonged to a different party.

    Cummings said he realized after the election that many of the candidates might have switched over to the Republicans to vote for Ron Paul in the February primary.

    Of the 10 candidates Cummings has sued, four were independents and the rest belonged to either the Libertarian or American Independent parties. They registered as Republicans last September and February.

    The Minuteman/Ron Paul coalition won a majority of seats in precincts that represented parts of southern and eastern Alameda counties, including the Tri-City area, where Cummings struggled to find people to even run for the committee.

    Even with the new blood, the committee struggles to reach a meeting quorum, Stanley said.

    “It’s counter-productive to the party’s needs,” he said, to oust seven members who always show up and had been scheduled to work on behalf of Republican candidates such as Dean Andal, who is challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

  • http://www.constitutionalrepublicans.org/ Walter, GOP Livermore City-Chair

    *Here’s another article too*

    The Contra Costa Times, By Lisa Vorderbrueggen August 16, 2008

    Alameda County GOP Chairman Paul Cummings is legally challenging the June election of 10 members to his party’s county Central Committee.

    He says the county failed to enforce rules that say Central Committee candidates who were previously registered in another political party must have been Republicans for at least a year and those registered “decline to state” must have been in the party at least three months.

    The court case lists six people identified as former Libertarians or American Independents and four who declined to state.

    Walter Stanley III of Livermore, named in the lawsuit, says they were unfairly singled out because they formed a group called the Constitutional Republicans, of which some members support presidential candidate Ron Paul. Eighteen of its members ran for the Central Committee in June and a dozen were elected.

    Cummings concedes he was unhappy to learn of the group’s success at the ballot but insists his chief concern is the legality of the election.

    “I visited the (Alameda County) registrar of voter’s office three times and told them about this, but they said they would only respond to a court order,” Cummings said. “This was our only option, unfortunately.”

    On the other hand, Stanley makes a good point: The Alameda County Republican Party, with only 16 percent of registered voters, can ill afford to turn people away.

    Not only is Assembly District 15 up for grabs, but the party would dearly love to reclaim the seat held by Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney.

    But as it turns out, serving your volunteers with subpoenas is a big turn-off.

    “We’re boycotting all events that aid the Republican Party,” Stanley said. “We’re not going to take a lawsuit quietly.”

  • http://www.constitutionalrepublicans.org/ Walter, GOP Livermore City-Chair

    Now, for our second and newest Press Release (hot off the press), click on the link below…

    http://www.constitutionalrepublicans.org/documents/CR%20Press%20Release%202008-08-18.pdf

    And if you would like to ‘email’ or ‘call’ Alameda County Republican Party Chairman, Paul Cummings to ask him why he is hurting the Republican Party by suing volunteers that the Party needs now, more than ever, here is his email address…

    pdcummings@msm.com
    or,
    info@alamedagop.org

  • Troublemaker

    Renegade GOP,

    Thanks for the welcome -for the record I have been around you just have to look a little harder.

    Where Del Carlo is concerned I assure you I actually understated my case-he is a train wreck. That is probably the nicest thing I can say about him. Wilson’s decision to run with Del Carlo is by many accounts a disaster and one that should have been avoided. I know he (Wilson) will not have the support he could have going with anyone else-but that was his decision win or lose.

    I want Wilson to win but I think he sealed his fate and Del Carlo will have played a major part in that, come November. For Wilson’s sake I hope I am wrong but many insiders confirm this to be problematic.

    Piepho has stated that she won in 2004 in spite of Del Carlo as her campaign manager. That should offer some insight to both you and I. I would also think that since he did not stay on with her after she won the election sends a clear signal about his value. If you have questions you should contact Piepho herself she does not appear to be shy about the topic.

    I appreciate your position and that you believe Del Carlo will come through this with a win. I am not sure how you qualify that. He really has no winning experience but then again it is ok for us to agree to disagree.

    Not to rub salt in the wound but didn’t Del Carlo also lose big in his bid for election to the Central Committee? He may have even come in last, but don’t quote me on that.

    I don’t see your angle on Piepho or her “people” being sore winners. Discussing Mathew Del Carlo has little to do with Piepho and has everything to do with his personal shortcomings. I really can’t find anyone that thinks he is a good or qualified campaign manager which seems to resonate around the county.

    Now let’s get back to the topic which is why this race is so important and perhaps the bigger question of why would Wilson go with Del Carlo? (Remember you said it; Del Carlo got his butt kicked). That should be peaking your interest. You seem to be insightful and I bet if you think about it you might just figure out that he wasn’t hired for his skills. Then again that might just beg for more questions than answers.

  • Renegade GOP

    Troublemaker thank you for the sincere response.

    In the end it is the choices of the candidate that usually cause them to win or loose an election. Esecially if it is a competitive race. What do they say the fish rots from the head. But so far I don’t see the Wilson campaign failing. They have a campaign HQ. They have staff. They are putting mail pieces together. They have introduced the candidate to the world wide web. And very importantly they are raising money.

    If we learned anything from the primary it is that Wilson is his own man and he calls his own shots.

    I would agree that the stakes are high for Del Carlo. As a campaign manager you don’t want to many in the loss column. That said he will have a fire lit under his butt to win this race. I think this is the only race the local GOP has a chance to win. So the stakes are very high. The novelty of having an African-American republican runnning for a viable seat is going to be too much for the vaunted GOP Cacus in sacramento. Even though they are total losers they are not brain dead enough to see Wilson’s talent and the opportunity of a Wilson victory. They will spend what it takes to keep the seat. Not to mention saving the conservative legacy in the Tri Valley. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats mount a viable campaign down in the Tri Valley. They spend a lot of time in their strongholds in the central, east and west county. Not to say that it can’t change. I know Chuck Carpenter who is a very fine person and leader. He says he will leads his troops south to try and take the Tri valley. It would be very exciting to watch.

    It looks to me that Wilson’s decision on Del Carlo is final. So lets see what happens and see where the campaign goes. If he fails it will be Wilson’s fault and Del Carlo will be exiled in disgrace. But if he wins then hey give him his due.

    One thing I will say about Del Carlo is that after the Houston loss he could have taken a job in another county for another candidate. Instead he stood up licked his wounds and is fighting on. To me that is a comendable trait.

    So lets see what happens. I look forward to your posts.

  • Troublemaker

    Renegade GOP,

    “In the end it is the choices of the candidate that usually cause them to win or loose an election. Especially if it is a competitive race.”

    Very well put and you offer some great points.

    This one will be interesting to follow and may take some interesting turns. This will be one to pay close attention to.

  • RR

    Wilson is a solid choice but right now Buchanan is in the lead.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com BGR

    The Dems are going to throw everything they got at AD-15 to defeat Wilson and take away the last Republican held seat in Bay Area. It’s time for GOP factions to stop kvetching and second guessing Wilson’s campaign org chart and to circle the wagons and start working together for a win. The Gipper said he never cared about who got credit.

  • Renegade GOP

    Thanks Troublemaker,

    It will be very exciting to watch.

    And I look forward to your commentary.

    All the best,

    Renegade

  • Renegade GOP

    RR,
    You are on the money. Every day she is bringing in thousands of dollars.

    Renegade