Out candidates Beckles, Bauters see 2nd place showings solidify

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday March 13, 2024
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Lesbian transit leader Beckles appeared headed to the fall election for an East Bay Senate seat. Photo: Courtesy the candidate<br>
Lesbian transit leader Beckles appeared headed to the fall election for an East Bay Senate seat. Photo: Courtesy the candidate

Out candidates running for a state Senate seat and a county supervisor seat have seen their second place showings solidify following another vote count update. They both now appear headed to the November ballot for head-to-head matchups with the first place finishers in their respective races.

After leapfrogging into second place in recent days in her bid for the open Senate District 7 seat that spans Alameda and Contra Costa counties, lesbian former Richmond city councilmember Jovanka Beckles has seen her standing over third-place finisher, Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, continue to grow. After both counties posted updates Wednesday, Beckles now has 26,201 votes.

That is 2,811 more votes than Kalb. First-place finisher Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín now leads with 50,010 votes.

With Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) termed out later this year, six people had sought the seat. Union leader Kathryn Lybarger, who like Beckles identifies as queer and lesbian, landed in fourth place with a current total of 22,210 votes.

There are just 5,300 votes remaining to count in Contra Costa, which plans to post its next results update Friday at 4 p.m. Before Wednesday's update from Alameda County, there had been 95,238 remaining ballots to be tabulated.

Wednesday's update from the count also saw gay Emeryville City Councilmember John Bauters expand his hold on second place in the race for the open District 5 supervisor seat. Like with the legislative race, only the top two finishers will advance to the fall runoff.

Bauters' vote tally now stands at 12,631 votes or 21% of the ballots counted to date. Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett remains in third place with nearly 17% of the vote, with a ballot count of 10,114.

Maintaining her firm grasp of first place is Oakland City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, who is at 32.80% of the vote. Her total now stands at 19,726.

Bas is poised to compete against Bauters to succeed Supervisor Keith Carson on the November 5 ballot. Carson made the surprise decision to retire at the end of his current term, leading to the nine-way race on the primary ballot to succeed him.

Due to the crowded field, no one was expected to receive more than 50% of the vote in election on the March 5 primary ballot to clinch the contest. Should he win the seat, Bauters would be the first LGBTQ community member elected as a supervisor in Alameda County.

Beckles, who currently serves on the AC Transit board, has a shot of becoming one of the first out representatives in the Legislature representing a portion of Contra Costa County. San Ramon City Councilmember Marisol Rubio is competing against Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) for the District 9 Senate seat that covers much of Contra Costa County and a portion of southern Alameda County.

They are seeking to succeed termed out Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda). Rubio, a gender-nonconforming, demisexual, biromantic, landed in second place in her primary.

Beckles and Rubio head into the fall election as underdogs in their respective races. Meanwhile, gay former West Sacramento mayor Christopher Cabaldon could be facing a tough race of his own for the open Senate District 3 seat.

Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) is termed out of representing the sprawling district that includes portions of Contra Costa, Solano, Sonoma and Napa counties in the Bay Area as well as Yolo and Sacramento counties. None of the counties have elected an LGBTQ person to the Legislature.

Cabaldon came in second in the primary with 26.7% of the vote. In first place with 28.2% is Dixon City Councilmember Thom Bogue, a Republican who survived the Jonestown massacre when he was a teenager.

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