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)