Political Notebook: Hansen awaits count in close Sacto mayor race

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday March 6, 2024
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Sacramento mayoral candidate Steve Hansen is in a statistical tie with three other candidates. Photo: Courtesy the candidate<br>
Sacramento mayoral candidate Steve Hansen is in a statistical tie with three other candidates. Photo: Courtesy the candidate

In the race to become Sacramento's next mayor, gay former city councilmember Steve Hansen is in a four-way statistical dead heat. The top-two finishers will advance to a runoff in November, and an update on the vote count in the contest won't come until Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, gay San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is gliding toward reelection this fall. He placed first in Tuesday's primary to determine the top two candidates advancing to the November 5 general election.

Gloria is at nearly 51% of the vote based on the unofficial tally March 6. Holding second place was police officer Larry Turney with 24% of the vote.

In a Wednesday email to his supporters, Gloria boasted he was "charging forward to the general election."

Hansen remains hopeful he will be doing the same. The married dad was one of six candidates running to succeed Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who opted not to seek a third term and has said he plans to remain in office through the end of the year.

According to the unofficial returns Wednesday morning, Hansen was tied for first place with Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Dr. Richard Pan, a former state senator. All three currently have 23% of the vote, with Pan holding a four-vote lead over Hansen for the top spot and McCarty trailing in third behind Hansen by 159 votes.

Close behind in fourth was Dr. Flojaune Cofer, an epidemiologist, who had 21% of the vote. She trailed McCarty by 645 votes.

A clearer picture should come Friday of which of the four will be competing on the fall ballot to become mayor of the state's capital city through 2028. A new vote count is to be posted that afternoon at 4:15 p.m.

In an email to his supporters Wednesday morning, Hansen advised them to "stay patient" as they wait for clarity in the outcome of the race.

"While we await final election results with cautious optimism, I want to express how profoundly grateful I am for the unwavering support from our community and the tireless efforts of our volunteers throughout this campaign. This dedication to rebuild Sacramento has continued to energize and inspire me," wrote Hansen.

In the Bay Area, San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan clinched a full four-year term and avoided a fall runoff race. Facing a little known opponent, Mahan took roughly 87% of the vote, enough to win outright on Tuesday.

He was elected just two years ago in a tough race against Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez. But the city moved its mayoral races to presidential years, so the contests will now occur in conjunction with the March primary every four years, and if no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote, then the top two finishers advance to the November ballot.

With Mahan's easy win Tuesday, the marquee mayoral race in the Bay Area this fall will be the battle for Room 200 at San Francisco City Hall. Mayor London Breed is trailing in the polls against a trio of male candidates aiming to oust her from office this fall.

She received a boost from a host of ballot measures she put on Tuesday's ballot that focused on public safety issues. The local measures are all headed to passage based on the unofficial vote count as of Wednesday morning. (See story, page 8).

East Bay education official wins

Angela Normand, who is a Black lesbian, easily won reelection to the Trustee Area 2 seat on the Alameda County Board of Education. She represents communities in Alameda, and portions of San Leandro and Oakland.

According to the unofficial returns Normand took first place with nearly 74% of the vote. The statewide director for the California Teachers Association and a special education teacher, Normand handily defeated construction manager John Lewis, who received 26%.

"The work we do for our working families is critical, and I will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we work to ensure a district where EVERY student can thrive," Normand posted on X Tuesday afternoon ahead of the polls closing.

She is one of two out members of the county education board. Gay Area 1 Trustee Joaquin Rivera represents Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, and portions of Oakland, and his term is up in 2026.

Mixed results for out Stockton, Santa Cruz council candidates

In Stockton, Mario Enríquez is aiming to be the first out male to serve on the City Council in the county seat of San Joaquin County. A gay man, he would also be the first LGBTQ community leader on the municipal governing body since 2012.

As of Wednesday morning, he was in second place with nearly 30% of the vote in the race for the open District 4 council seat. Businesswoman Gina Valadez-Bracamonte was in first place with almost 33%, according to the unofficial returns.

As no candidate has more than 50% of the vote in order to win the seat outright, Enríquez and Valadez-Bracamonte will advance to a runoff race in November should they maintain the top two spots.

The Stockton City Council has not had out LGBTQ representation on it since Susan Talamantes Eggman (D) departed for the state Assembly. Now a state senator termed out in December, Eggman had endorsed Enríquez, who is the director of the Center for Identity and Inclusion at the University of the Pacific, his alma mater.

Two years after losing their bid for a state Assembly seat, nonbinary former union organizer Joe Thompson ran on Tuesday's primary ballot for the open District 5 City Council seat in Santa Cruz that includes a majority of the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Thompson currently stands at roughly 33% of the vote, while water engineer Susie O'Hara netted 66% of the vote, according to the unofficial returns. A former city official now employed by a nonprofit, O'Hara appears set to clinch the seat should she maintain her lead.

The coastal enclave is transitioning to having six district-based council seats plus an elected mayor, which began with the 2022 elections for two of the seats and a new mayor. It currently has no LGBTQ council members.

Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check http://www.ebar.com Monday mornings for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion. This week's column noted a report on the state's LGBTQ judges omitted the two transgender members of the bench.

Keep abreast of the latest LGBTQ political news by following the Political Notebook on Threads @ https://www.threads.net/@matthewbajko.

Got a tip on LGBTQ politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail [email protected]

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