Bonilla shifts gears; will run for state Assembly

Contra Costa County Supervisor Susan Bonilla has had a change of heart and says she will run for state Assembly in 2010 after all.

Bonilla had said she would not seek the office despite widespread expectation that she wanted the job. Her teen-aged daughter will be a senior in high school in 2010 and Bonilla worried that a campaign would take too much time away from her family.

“I have my family’s full support and I feel that as a former teacher, mayor and a county supervisor, I have experience to bring to Sacramento,” Bonilla said.

Bonilla must have figured out what most parents know: Teenagers don’t really want you around.  (That was a joke, people. I raised four children.)

Bonilla says she will not actively start the campaign until later in the year. She has plenty on her plate at the county these days, with massive budget short-falls and labor negotiations.

But she goes into the campaign with a huge advantage: The endorsements of state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch.

She has been viewed as the heir apparent for some time and when she took her name out of contention, numerous folks called up Torlakson and DeSaulnier. The met the two legislators for coffee and the big sell: Martinez Councilmen Mark Ross and Mike Menesini, Pittsburg Councilman Sal Evola and Antioch Councilman Brian Kalinowski. (Contra Costa superintendent of schools Joe Ovick had considered it but recently changed his mind.)

This is a significant election. The person who wins in 2010 has a strong chance to serve in public office for 12 years. If Bonilla were to win the the Assembly seat and remain for six years, she would term out at the same time that DeSaulnier will finish his two terms in the Senate. That puts her in a prime position to run for the open Senate seat.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Ted

    How do Democrats get out from under the Torlakson/DeSaulnier heavy-handed political power plays? They have not been particular good legislators. Yes, they are quick to introduce bills, even though they have a snowball’s chance in hell to pass. But what have they done for their constituents lately? Why not some new names instead of their handpicked successor? Bonilla could very well be a good legislator but she is tainted from the start. There must be some equally qualified Democrats out there who won’t kowtow to Torlaksanier.

  • John W

    I’m not in that Assembly district. Voted for Ted Ford in the Democratic primary for Guy Houston’s seat. However, given the Contra Costa supervisors’ complete dereliction of duty in dealing with the county’s fiscal mess, I don’t know why any of them should be elected to the legislature.

  • Susie Q

    Has anyone seen Bonilla east of the Willow Pass? The Democratic Party should wait to see who is running before annointing the supervisor. Because of party registration, it is a given that a Democrat will win that seat. But who else is in the race? I voted for Laura the last time we had a choice.

  • BGR

    Lisa you are tripping out. Already you have Susan winning the Senate seat 8 years from now. Who needs Democracy with reporting like that?

    Why would anyone expect their vote to count when the press so uncritically plays along.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Oh please, Bill.

    I don’t have Bonilla winning anything. I am speculating — the undeserved purview of political writers — based on the reality of incumbency. Torlakson followed the same path. Barring a significant political shift, DeSaulnier will very likely do the same thing. I would not be serving my readers if I ignored reality and pretended that every election offers a brand new and equal chance for everyone to win.

    That said, the unknown here is redistricting. None of the analysis at UC Berkeley or the Rose Institute contemplates a major shift in either of these districts but the introduction of the citizen panel brings a new element into the picture.

  • Lisa,
    Since Mr. DeSaulnier didn’t serve his eight years in the Assembly, couldn’t he end up running for that seat again?? Anyone who doesn’t believe that these seats are reserved for cronies believes in the Tooth Fairy,
    look what these two “friends” did to Joe Canciamilla just to get what they wanted.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Good point. Perhaps Bonilla and DeSaulnier will “switch seats,” just as DeSaulnier and Torlakson did in November.

  • Brian Kalinowski


    Just to clarify its a total of 14 years not 12, 6 plus 8. Math is very important in these lean economic times…:).

  • Arne Simonsen

    There are many good Democrats in AD-11, and since AD-11 has Democrats outnumbering Republicans 2:1 I think it is time to look for someone who has not served on the Board of Supervisors!

    If Tauscher can go from never having held elected office at any level to Congress, then I see no reason why we should be even be considering anyone who has been a County Supervisor!

    There are many good council members and mayors in AD-11 who are more than qualified to become a good Assembly Member.

    Let’s just hope that the electorate in AD-11 finally wises up 🙂

  • BGR

    Great. Now it’s musical chairs.

  • Ted

    Since another poster brought it up — I was really surprised that the Times didn’t focus more on the musical chairs played by Torlaksanier. Sure it was legal but the act itself demonstrated that their political careers are more important than serving their constituents. No one (except the media) could call them to task on the brazen nature of their disdain. Alas, the media didn’t follow up. They did it just because they could.
    I hope the Democrats and Labor withhold their endorsements until they see who ALL the players are 18 months down the line.

  • John W

    Agree with Arne Simonsen about AD 11 and the pool of good people at the municipal government level, where some of them manage to balance their budgets without breaking a sweat. I voted for Ted in the Dem primary but would have voted for Mayor Wilson in the general if he had not signed “the pledge.” I was torn between Wilson on the pledge issue and Buchannan on the issue of public records (i.e., government employee salary info)and what her position indicated about her ties to public employee unions. What is it about these pragmatists who turn into rigid party loyalists when they get to or run for a job in Sacramento?

  • Barbara Zivica

    Perhaps it’s not all about politics – just her being in the mood to redecorate another office!


  • MVP

    How many in the race now?