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Archive for the '2008 June primary' Category

San Ramon mayor pay pull off surprise win

He didn’t have a web site. He didn’t raise as much money or campaign nearly as long.

But San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson (pictured on the right with Danville Councilwoman Karen Stepper) appears to have bested his three Republican challengers in the hard-fought Assembly District 15 primary race.

With all the precincts counted, Wilson had 31 percent of the vote and a 546-vote lead over his nearest competitor, Robert Rao of Livermore. Judy Lloyd of Danville followed with 23 percent and Scott Kamena came in fourth with 17 percent. (Click here to see the results.)

While there are mail-in and provisional ballots left to count, if the lead holds, it will be a surprising finish.

Rao put more than $500,000 of his own money into the race. Kamena has been campaigning and raising money to win this seat for more than two years. And Lloyd sold her house in order to run, moving to Danville after redistricting in 2001 left her Pleasanton home outside the district’s boundaries.

Wilson, on the other hand, got into the race late after vacillating for weeks. His father died shortly before the filing deadline and the San Ramon mayor almost didn’t run. Political leaders who really like Wilson have been grousing for weeks that he wasn’t living up to his potential or working hard enough to win.

In yet another testimony to the unreliability of conventional wisdom, most thought (including me) that he would post a poor performance tonight.

Wilson’s victory won’t offer much comfort to Democratic primary winner, Joan Buchanan, a San Ramon Valley Unified School District trustee.

Democrats would have preferred to run against Rao, a former automobile dealership owner who campaigned heavily on a conservative, anti-tax platform.

Wilson is a polished, articulate and moderate politician who may appeal to independent-minded voters of both parties. This district recently flipped to a small Democratic Party registration advantage but it remains very competitive. Unlike tonight’s dismally low turnout, the November election with its presidential ticket is expected to draw record numbers of voters.

Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary, California Legislature, Contra Costa politics, Republican politics | No Comments »

Piepho keeps her seat; Houston concedes

With 100 percent of precincts counted, Contra Costa Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho beat back challenger Guy Houston, an outgoing Republican Assemblyman who had hoped to leverage his legislative resume to win a local job.

Piepho received 53 percent of the vote compared to 45 percent for Houston and held a comfortable 3,138-vote margin.

Houston called Piepho just after midnight and offered his congratulations.

From the beginning, it was a rough campaign. It fractured friendships and created hard feelings, particularly within Republican Party activists who had endorsed and campaigned for Piepho and Houston in prior races.

Emotions ran high between the candidates, too. Piepho once worked for Houston. He had encouraged and endorsed her 2004 supervisor candidacy and tried to persuade her to run for his Assembly seat.

But she declined to seek state office and Houston, who had dropped out of consideration for a congressional seat, set his sights on his former employee’s job. Several high-profile county officials who had clashed with Piepho in her first year in office, including Sheriff Warren Rupf, threw their support behind him.

On paper, Houston should have done better. Affable and well-spoken, he had strong name identification, ample campaign funds and plenty of potential campaign fodder.

The county faces steep budget woes bought on by retiree health care debt, a poor economy and state financial troubles. Piepho has angered constituents in some parts of the county with her moves to eliminate elected municipal advisory council positions, alter the zip code in Byron and establish a no-tow zone in a popular Delta slough. And some taxpayer groups say Piepho has been far too cooperative with employee unions and cozy with Democrats such as Sen. Tom Torlakson, who endorsed her candidacy.

But like glue that fails to harden, Houston’s campaign never quite stuck.

Republicans were divided and leading county Democrats generally preferred the less partisan Piepho over Houston. He had run three successful but hard-fought Assembly races and had operated for six years in a considerably more party-focused environment in Sacramento. The Board of Supervisors is nonpartisan although party politics do come into play.

Oil refineries, a real estate political action group and labor unions had spent more than $200,000 hitting Houston and promoting Piepho in glossy mailers. Houston survived the independent expenditure barrage in his Assembly races but the hits clearly took their toll on his supervisor candidacy.

The legislator also couldn’t shake from his record details of a civil lawsuit filed by several elderly investor who said he lost their money in bad business deals related to his father’s bankrupt company. Houston reached an undisclosed settlement last year.

Houston sent out negative mailers about Piepho but he came across as a mean-spirited cad rather than an experienced statesman. Supporters such as Sheriff Rupf tried in the last week to drum up votes with anti-Piepho mailers but they were too little and too late.

It’s a steep blow for Houston, who had never, until tonight, lost a campaign.

Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

Weir reports dismal voter turn-out

Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters Steve Weir is reporting a 26 percent voter turnout Tuesday with 636 of 772 precincts reporting. And if the trend continues, it will rising to a whopping 28 percent before the count is finished.

When all the mail-in ballots are counted, Weir says seven out of every 10 voters will have voted by mail rather than the polls, the highest percentage in county history.

“But I am hearing tentative numbers for other major counties looking much worse,” Weir said.

Statewide, with 70 percent of precincts reporting, turnout was 19 percent.

The skimpy ballot coupled with the lack of a presidential race or major statewide issues apparently left voters disinterested and disinclined to bother.

Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary, Contra Costa County | No Comments »

Huge vote gap between two Contra Costa districts

Voters in Contra Costa County supervisor District 5 — from Bay Point to Bethel Island — didn’t seem inclined to vote by mail in this election.

Neighboring District 3 incumbent Mary Nejedly Piepho from Discovery Bay alone had received more mail-in votes than all five of the District 5 candidates combined. With only mail-in votes reported, Piepho posted 13,030 votes while challenger Guy Houston of San Ramon received 9,790 votes. Combined with write-in votes, 23,209 people mailed in their ballots.

But in District 5, just 11,586 people had voted by mail for the five people on the ballot. Incumbent Supervisor Federal Glover saw 3,887 votes while Erik Nunn was in second place with 3,558 votes.

We’ll see if the total numbers reach parity by the end of the evening but it’s a large chasm.

What happened?

For one, portions of District 3 (the San Ramon Valley and far East Contra Costa County) overlap with the four-way contested Assembly District 15 Republican primary. Also, outside groups spent tens of thousands of dollars on mailers. Houston was a big target of independent expenditures. That probably drove up turn-out.

These were the mail-in ballots counted roughly as of late last week. The election office won’t count the mail-in ballots that arrived on or near Election Day until after it finishes the count of votes filed today.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

Rao and Wilson still virtually tied

The results of the Assembly District 15 Republican primary remains in a dead heat between Livermore retired businessman Robert Rao and San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson with each man claiming slightly more than 30 percent of the vote with 144 of 522 precincts reporting.

It’s a surprising twist. Many people thought Wilson would flop at the polls. He entered late, campaigned relatively little and raised the least amount of money.

Judy Biviano Lloyd, who put out several hard-hitting mail pieces in the final weeks slamming Rao and Livermore optometrist Scott Kamena, was coming in third with 22 percent.

Kamena trailed badly with 17 percent despite running the longest campaign of the four candidates.

Tonight’s winner will move on to compete in the November general election against Joan Buchanan, a San Ramon Valley School Board trustee who was handily beating Walnut Creek economic Ted Ford.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary | No Comments »

Contra Costa fixes election site glitch

A software component designed to alert Contra Costa election officials of a potential reporting problem was inadvertently blocking the posting of on-line results but the conflict has been resolved, county officials say.

Precinct level results should appear soon on its results web site.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary, Contra Costa County | No Comments »

Contra Costa elections has data trouble

Contra Costa elections chief Steve Weir reports that his office is having trouble posting data onto its election returns web site.

Weir’s abbreviated email doesn’t sound good: “may have to rely upon printed, hope not.”

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary | No Comments »

Early returns put Wilson and Rao neck-and-neck

A manual tally of mail-in results from Alameda and Contra Costa counties plus a few votes posted from Sacramento and San Joaquin counties puts San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson and Robert Rao nearly tied with roughly 30 percent each of the 18,549 votes cast.

Rao of Livermore had 5,644 votes compared to 5,693 for Wilson.

Judy Biviano Lloyd of Danville is in second place with 22. percent of 4,104 votes followed by Scott Kamena of Livermore with 17 percent or 3,108 votes.

This surprised me. I expected the early results race to be between Rao and Kamena. Each man put out quite a bit of early mail. Rao spent a lot of his own money. And Wilson’s campaign fell far short of what most expected.

We’ll see how the results track through the evening.

Headline corrected on 6/4/08. I mistakenly listed Lloyd rather than Wilson as being tied for the lead. Lisa v.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary, California Legislature | No Comments »

Contra Costa mail-in ballot results posted

Contra Costa County has posted the results of the mail-in ballots counted as of a few days ago.

Here’s quick run-down of the Contra Costa County results so far:

Contra Costa Supervisor, District 3: Incumbent Mary Nejedly Piepho leads with 56 percent of the vote or 13,030 votes. Challenger Guy Houston has 42 percent or 9,790 votes.

Contra Costa Supervisor, District 5: Incumbent Federal Glover has a narrow lead of 33.5 percent or 3,887 votes; Erik Nunn, 30.7 percent, 3,558 votes; Gary Agopian, 17.6 percent, 2,040 votes; Mary Rocha, 14.5 percent or 1,682 votes; and Don Parscal, 3.3 percent or 386 votes.

Measure C, Antioch Unified School District bond: PASSING. Yes, 63.5 percent; no, 36.4 percent. (Measure C: asks voters to authorize a $61.6 million bond measure for school renovation and modernization projects. Property owners would be taxed as rate of $28 per $100,000 of assessed value to repay the loan. 55 percent required to pass.)

Measure D, San Ramon Valley Unified School District parcel tax: FAILING. Yes, 58 percent; no, 42 percent. (Asks voters to extend and increase the parcel tax from $90 to $166 a year to fund class-size reductions, library operations, student laboratories and counseling services. Two-thirds vote required to pass.)

Measure E, Orinda parcel tax: PASSING. Yes, 71.7 percent; no, 28 percent. (Asks voters to increase parcel tax from $27 to $39 per year per parcel to fund Orinda library operations, replace books and materials. Two-thirds vote required to pass.)

I’m very curious as to see whether or not these early vote-by-mail results track through the evening.

Given the very low turnout, the success of these campaigns may will hinge on the effectiveness of the candidates’ push to get their supporters to the polls. I’m also wondering how much impact the high volume of last-minute negative mailers will have on the outcome given the fact that a lot of voters may have already made their decisions.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary, Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

How is turnout going?

One of my colleagues says she voted at Asbury United Methodist Church of Livermore, the polling place for far eastern Alameda County. Her husband was voter No. 1 when the polls opened this morning. At 1:15 today, she was voter No. 16 although some folks had turned in absentee ballots.

Another caller says he was No. 17 at 8:45 a.m. in west Contra Costa County.

It doesn’t sound too promising.

Did you vote today at the polls and what was your experience?

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 June primary | No Comments »