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The 9th Senate District race is on

With Tuesday’s defeat of Proposition 93, the term-limits reform measure, state Senate President Don Perata, D-Oakland, will be termed out of office this year, and so the campaigns of those seeking to replace him are firing up on all cylinders.

hancock.jpgAs Steve Harmon noted in his story today, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, will face off in June’s Democratic primary election against former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland; the winner will almost certainly take the seat in November, as the district’s overwhelmingly Democratic registration makes a Republican victory almost unthinkable.

I’ve just now received a news release from Loni Hancock’s campaign — which like Chan’s has largely dormant until they knew whether Perata would be viable for another term — noting that she raised $500,506 in contributions last year. “I am thankful for this show of support from across the district,” she says in the release. “Together we can face the challenges of our generation — quality and accessible health care, a clean environment, and a first rate school system.”

chan.jpgBut a glance at the Secretary of State’s database shows Chan raised $164,834 last year, leaving her with $526,641.16 cash on hand at 2007′s end. Hancock finished the year with less — $343,906.73 — having already spent four times as much as Chan.

Keep watching those accounts; I’m betting money’s going to start pouring into one or both of them now that Perata is surely termed out.

perata.jpgBut don’t cry for him, Argentina — he has $164,002.28 stashed away in his “Taxpayers for Perata” committee, ostensibly so he can run for the Board of Equalization in 2010. Yeah, right — that committee spent $189,987.95 in 2007, almost half of which went to Perata’s legal defense fund for an ongoing federal anti-corruption probe, and the rest to maintaining his current political activities.

Board of Equalization, my heiny. But surely he intends to run for something in coming years. Maybe… Mayor of Oakland? Or, perhaps depending on how deftly he handles the state budget crisis this summer, one of the statewide constitutional offices?

Posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2008
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Don Perata, Elections, Loni Hancock, Wilma Chan | No Comments »

Legislative campaigns heating up in Berkeley

hancock.jpgThe Sierra Club today announced its endorsement of Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, in her bid to succeed state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, in representing the 9th State Senate District.

“Turning around global warming, protecting open space, and investing in Clean and Green Technology will ensure that our children and grandchildren have a better future,” Hancock said in her news release. “I am proud to have the Sierra Club’s endorsement and will continue to work with them to protect our environment.”

Among Hancock’s other endorsements are Congressmembers George Miller and Ellen Tauscher, Oakland Assemblymember Sandre Swanson, the California Legislative Black Caucus, and the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council. But remember, Hancock’s candidacy might be cut short if Proposition 93, the term-limits reform measure on the Feb. 5 primary ballot, passes and enables Perata to run for another term. Former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland, is in the race too; see her full endorsement list here. Perata has endorsed them both, and both have said they’ll drop out of the race if Proposition 93 passes.

worthington.jpgMeanwhile, Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington officially kicks off his campaign for Hancock’s 14th Assembly District seat today; he’ll be joined by supporters, elected officials and volunteers from 5 to 7 p.m. at Le Bateau Ivre Restaurant in Berkeley. Worthington issued a release saying he’s excited to start campaigning and is looking forward to the challenge of getting elected to higher office and fighting for universal health care, tackling global warming, and enacting public financing of election campaigns.

“Most of my life has been about taking on big challenges, and overcoming them,” Worthington says. “I spent the first 11 years of my life as a foster child, bouncing around between various foster homes. I also spent time on the streets as a homeless youth. These challenging early life experiences gave me the compassion I have today for those who are less fortunate, left out, and have no one to speak up for them.”

Posted on Tuesday, October 30th, 2007
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Don Perata, Elections, Loni Hancock, Wilma Chan | No Comments »

A double endorsement?

chan.jpgSo, who does state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, want to succeed him: former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan of Alameda, or current Assemblywoman Loni Hancock of Berkeley?

I published a story earlier this week about how Chan is supporting the term-limits reform measure on next February’s ballot, even though its passage would doom her state Senate campaign by all but guaranteeing Perata one more term. Soon afterward, I got a call from Hancock’s campaign consultant, who noted the circa-2004 Perata quote I’d included: “Nothing has changed with my support for her (Chan, seeking the Senate seat) when I leave.”

hancock.jpgThe consultant said Perata now supports Hancock; this was repeated in a news release issued Tuesday on Hancock’s fundraising. Chan’s campaign Web site lists Perata among her endorsers, but it hasn’t been updated since March.

Perata’s spokesman said he’s too busy wrestling with the state budget impasse this week to say who he’s supporting.

Campaign finance reports indicate Chan’s campaign raised about $76,400 while spending about $9,800 in the first half of this year, bringing her war chest to more than $468,000 as of June 30. Hancock’s campaign in the same period raised almost $229,700 and spent just over $63,000, leaving her with about $185,600 on hand at mid-year. Chan was termed out of the Assembly last year; Hancock will be termed out next year — unless the term-limit reform measure passes, in which case she can seek more time in the Assembly.

Posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Don Perata, Elections, Loni Hancock, Wilma Chan | No Comments »