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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.

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Tis the season; candidates kick off campaigns

If the doorbell rings the next couple of Saturdays, it might be a sales call of the political variety, otherwise known as a candidate.

Don’t kick them off your front porch too fast; this is your chance for some face time with a person whose name may appear on your June 3 primary election ballot. (It will depend on your party affiliation, of course.)

Several Democratic candidates are kicking off their official election campaigns this weekend with precinct walks including Assembly District 15 Democratic primary candidate Joan Buchanan and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Buchanan opens her San Ramon headquarters at 10 a.m. Saturday with a guest, Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord. After a pep talk, volunteers will walk precincts in Livermore. If you want show up, the address is 2694 Bishop Drive, Suite 121, in San Ramon.

Buchanan is running against Walnut Creek businessman Ted Ford in the June 3 Democratic primary.

McNerney officially launches his re-election campaign on April 19 with precinct walks in Dublin, Stockton, Tracy and Morgan Hill. The candidate will greet volunteers starting at 10 a.m. at his headquarters at 6250 Village Parkway in Dublin.

McNerney is unopposed in the primary but is expected to face presumptive GOP nominee Dean Andal in November.

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State labor group unveils legislative endorsements

The California Labor Federation has issued dual endorsements in the hotly contested California Senate District 9 race between Democrats Loni Hancock and Wilma Chan. This seat is currently held by outgoing Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata of Alameda.

The labor group also jointly endorsed three of the four Democrats running in Assembly District 14, the seat held by Loni Hancock: Nancy Skinner, Kriss Worthington and Tony Thurmond. The fourth Democrat, Phil Polakoff, apparently didn’t pass muster.

For a full list of endorsements, visit the California Labor Federation’s website at http://www.calaborfed.org/

Or read on for the list. Continue Reading

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Whatever will they do with all that money?

If you have a worthy cause, I know a couple of guys with some extra cash sitting around.

Former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla of Pittsburg dropped out of the June 3 state Senate Democratic primary contest, much to the disappointment of his fans. But in campaign finance reports filed recently, he still had $405,263 in the bank as of Dec. 31, 2007. Canciamilla has raised $568,210 since he started campaigning in 2006 and had not spent much of it.

Meanwhile, his opponent — now unopposed — Democratic Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier of Concord had $254,064 in his account as of March 17.

He had raised a total of $416,889 for what he expected would be a tough Senate primary fight. He transferred the vast majority of the money came from his Assembly re-election campaign fund, which he no longer needed after he opted to run for the Senate.

What will these guys do with all this money now?

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Menesini won’t run for Contra Costa supervisor

Martinez Councilman Mike Menesini will not challenge incumbent Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema in June.

“It was hard for me to say no,” Menesini said this morning. “And I hate to the race go uncontested. But this is just not the right time for me.”

Labor groups were pushing Menesini to run against Uilkema in the hopes of putting a more union-friendly vote on the board. As of last night, Uilkema had no challengers and the filing deadline is 5 p.m. today.

But Menesini, a well-known local politician who has been the mayor of Martinez, is an assistant district attorney in San Francisco with several murder cases on his plate. He also has two young children at home.

“My wife was pretty dubious about it,” he said.

Folks who know Menesini have been saying for the past week or so that he would run, and probably show up at the county elections office at the last minute.

Not this time, he says.

“I’m a lot less impetuous than I used to be,” he said.