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Election 2018: Lesbian behind in E. Bay race

by Matthew S. Bajko

Jovanka Beckles is trailing in the 15th Assembly District race, but more votes need to be tallied. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland
Jovanka Beckles is trailing in the 15th Assembly District race, but more votes need to be tallied. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland  

For two days last weekend Jovanka Beckles, a lesbian who sits on the Richmond City Council, was in the second-place spot for the open 15th Assembly District seat, which stretches from Richmond south into parts of Oakland.

Late Friday Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb had fallen to third place. But by Sunday night he had again surpassed Beckles in the race.

And his vote edge has continued to grow in recent days. As of the Bay Area Reporter's press deadline Wednesday, Kalb was leading by 704 votes. He had 16 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial returns, while Beckles had 15.3 percent.

On her Twitter account Monday morning, Beckles quoted the Yogi Berra quip, "It ain't over till it's over." In an email message to her supporters later that day, Beckles wrote, "We are in this until the final vote is counted."

Former Obama staffer Buffy Wicks continues to have a dominating lead with 33, 945 votes. Under the state's "jungle primary" system, the top two vote-getters in the June 5 primary race will compete against each other in the November 6 general election.

In southern California, lesbian health care leader Marge Doyle has not budged from her third-place showing in the 8th Congressional District race. As of Wednesday morning, she had 21.8 percent of the vote, while former Republican state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly remained in second-place with 22.8 percent of the vote.

Representative Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) remains in first place with 41.1 percent of the vote. Like Beckles, Doyle has said she will not concede until the final vote is counted.

San Mateo ed race remains close
On the Peninsula, Gary Waddell, Ph.D., has a razor-thin 75-vote lead in the contest for San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools. As of Tuesday afternoon both he and his opponent, Nancy Magee, were in a statistical tie of 50 percent of the vote.

Waddell currently has 40,487 votes, while Magee has 40,412 votes. The next update will come Friday at 4:30 p.m.

"I am hopeful that our lead holds out and I can get to work on behalf of all of our students, but it is in the hands of the voters," Waddell told the B.A.R.

The two out candidates are colleagues at the county education office and are running to succeed lesbian San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Anne E. Campbell. After serving two four-year terms in the position, Campbell opted not to seek re-election.

Waddell, a gay resident of Pacifica, currently serves as deputy superintendent of the instructional services division at the county education office. Magee, a lesbian resident of Half Moon Bay, is the county's associate superintendent for the student services division.


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