Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Seventh District Blues

Shortly after learning that Republican Mark Meuser had decided not to file for the State Senate District Seven Special Election, I had discovered that an RNC alternative from Pleasanton, Michaela Hertle, did file.

Michaela Hertle
So, one Republican would still contend against four other Democrats in that district.

I even received the following tweet from a Republican Party activist in the region:

Jan 24 Mark decided not to run so that we will only have one Republican in the race. a businesswoman from Alameda Cty. More soon!

Then I read this article earlier this week:

The only Republican in the East Bay's 7th State Senate District special election dropped out Monday and endorsed a Democrat, less than a week after the candidates' list became official.
Michaela Hertle, a cloud-computing executive from Pleasanton who has never run for office before, issued a statement saying she's throwing her support to centrist Democrat Steve Glazer, Orinda's mayor and Gov. Jerry Brown's former campaign advisor.

This result is beyond disappointing.

I had spoken with connected leaders in the Bay Area. They had informed me that Hertle filed papers because she felt that Meuser was not strong enough of a candidate. Now she drops out. ..

What is going on here?

I had contacted Meuser two more times after this sudden decision not to file. He refused to give me answers, beyond informing me that three other reporters in the Bay Area had been covering this sudden backroom political chess game.

Other contacts in the East Bay have shared that Republican Party operatives wanted centrist, reform Democrat Stephen Glazer to run for the special election, so that Catharine Baker won't have to contend with him for her reelection in 2016. This understandable argument still does not justify pushing out any Republican for an open special election seat.

Even if the California GOP purportedly did not have a chance of winning Senate District Seven, Republicans could flex some muscle and show the state that they were not going to give up any opportunities without a fight. Democrats gave up on Senate Seats 21 and 37, which guarantee that the liberal Democrats in Sacramento will not have a supermajority.

Democrats are having a harder time than before holding onto the state legislature. If investigations pan out against them, the state senate may have to shuffle out to more legislators, Kevin De Leon and Carol Liu.

Still, I am deeply disappointed in the outcome. The East Bay Senate District had a demonstrable Republican presence in the southern section, which overlapped with Assemblywoman Baker's seat. With two Establishment Democrats beating each other up, and a reform Democrat trying to slip in between the two, Democratic machine politics would take a heavy hit in Northern California. All the Republican candidate would have to do is show up, stay quiet, and speak wisely.

Now, with Hertle's announcement not only not to run, but to endorse a Democrat. . .what are we left with?

Other stories have suggested that the heavily financed business communities, including the Chamber of Commerce, wanted Glazer, and had no intention of backing a Republican. Despite Meuser's claims of strong fundraising, other voices in East Bay politics indicated that he had no money, and that he could not expect to get anything from the State Senate GOP caucus, or from the state party. Other accounts point to an ongoing rift between Contra Costa and Alameda County Republican Committee members.

Stephen Glazer

Whatever one's read-out on the Seventh District Special Election, I am feeling the blues, because apart from a deeply uninformed and low voter turnout, another Democrat will step into this seat. Besides, there is no evidence, even if Glazer loses, that he will not run for Baker's seat next year. A lot of the political machinations from party leaders depends on these "what ifs" and "maybes", when in reality to fight the good fight is worth it in itself.

The California GOP already has a chance to regain its foothold in the Bay area. The SD-7 special election is another lost opportunity to capitalize on that new red footprint.

No comments:

Post a Comment