Out candidates headed to runoffs in supe races

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday June 8, 2022
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Supervisor candidates Rebecca Kaplan in Alameda County, left, Ken Carlson in Contra Costa County, and Laura Parmer-Lohan in San Mateo County have all advanced to November runoff races. Photos: Courtesy the candidates
Supervisor candidates Rebecca Kaplan in Alameda County, left, Ken Carlson in Contra Costa County, and Laura Parmer-Lohan in San Mateo County have all advanced to November runoff races. Photos: Courtesy the candidates

LGBTQ representation on Bay Area county supervisor boards could increase dramatically now that three out candidates are headed to November runoffs in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties as no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.

Meanwhile, a gay man's effort to be elected Contra Costa County clerk-recorder fell short.

In Alameda County, lesbian Rebecca Kaplan finished first for the open District 3 seat that that includes the cities of Alameda, San Leandro, a portion of Oakland, and the unincorporated communities of San Lorenzo, Hayward Acres, and a portion of Ashland. If elected this fall, she would be the first out member of the Board of Supervisors.

Kaplan has served on the Oakland City Council since 2008 representing the at-large seat and is its only out member. She decided to seek the supervisor seat following the death last November of longtime supervisor Wilma Chan, who was struck by a driver while walking her dog in Alameda.

According to unofficial returns, Kaplan leads with 6,405 votes, or 38.98%. Former Alameda city councilmember Lena Tam was in second with 4,935 votes, or 30.03%. The two will face each other in November. The other two candidates, former Oakland school board member David Kakishiba and former San Leandro city councilmember Surlene Grant finished with 18.48% and 12.52% of the vote, respectively.

Kaplan said that she and her campaign are "mobilizing for victory in November."

"I am incredibly honored and thankful to the voters of Alameda County for our strong first place finish in the primary election for supervisor," she texted the Bay Area Reporter Wednesday morning.

"With the significant challenges facing community health, and the right wing attacks on our rights from the Supreme Court and others, it is more important than ever to bring dedicated pro-public health, pro-LGBT, and pro-choice leadership to our county."

In Contra Costa County, gay Pleasant Hill City Councilmember Ken Carlson finished first for the open District 4 seat, which spans the cities of Concord, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, and parts of Walnut Creek.

According to unofficial returns, Carlson received 7,471 votes, or 27.7%. BART board director Debora Allen was in second, with 6.902 votes, or 25.61%. But third place finisher Carlyn Obringer was close behind, with 6,513 votes, or 24.17%. There are still more votes to be counted.

Two other candidates, Roxanne Garza and Ed Birsan, appeared to be out of the running, finishing with 13.28% and 9.22 %, respectively.

Carlson served as a police officer for 29 years, retiring as a sergeant in Concord.

Reached Wednesday morning, Carlson said he was "a little relieved."

"I feel humbled," he said in a brief phone interview. "I was a little nervous going in, but coming out number one gets momentum."

Over in San Mateo County on the Peninsula, lesbian San Carlos City Councilmember Laura Parmer-Lohan is in second place for the open District 3 supervisor seat. The district sprawls from the coastal towns along Highway 1 to the suburban cities of Atherton, San Carlos, and parts of Menlo Park and Belmont.

The top finisher, according to unofficial returns, was Menlo Park City Councilmember Ray Mueller, who received 5.341 votes, or 35.81%. Parmer-Lohan garnered 4,555 votes, or 30.54%. Two other candidates, Virginia Kirby and Steven Booker, received 18.65% and 15.01%, respectively.

"I feel fantastic about our positive campaign on my vision to address climate change and the unique needs of working moms and families. The response from voters has been terrific and I am excited about how the vote is trending!" Parmer-Lohan tweeted Wednesday. "The results show voters want someone who takes leadership in addressing the devastating impacts of climate change. I look forward to further election updates and thank District 3 voters for participating in this important election."

In a brief phone call Wednesday, Parmer-Lohan touted her endorsements of fellow supervisors, including the current D3 occupant Don Horsley, and former supervisors Rich Gordon, a gay man who went on to serve in the state Assembly, and Ted Lempert. She also said she's been endorsed by District 2 Supervisor Carole Groom, the only woman currently on the board.

"I'm proud of the district-wide grassroots campaign I'm running," she added, noting the "unique diversity of coastal and inland areas" in D3.

Clerk-recorder candidate falls short

Devin Murphy, a gay Black man who was elected to the Pinole City Council two years ago, decided to run for the open county clerk-recorder seat, which oversees elections. But Murphy came up short, finishing in third place. Two candidates are expected to advance to a November runoff: Kristin Connelly, who received 34,049 votes, or 34.42%, and Vicki Gordon, who received 24,152 votes, or 24.41%.

Murphy garnered 20,371 votes, or 20.59%, while Nick Spinner, a bi pansexual man, received 20,359 votes, or 20.58%.

In the closing days of the campaign, Gordon was accused of stealing Murphy's campaign signs. According to an editorial in the Mercury News, Gordon apologized but the editorial board wrote that her explanation "doesn't make sense." Apparently, Gordon was confronted by the Pleasant Hill homeowner supporting Murphy, apologized, and left the sign. She explained that she thought it was in a public right of way.

"Gordon's explanation doesn't make sense," the editorial board wrote. "We've looked at a photo of the sign placement. It's hard to imagine anyone mistaking the location as being in the public right of way."

While the paper did not mention it was Murphy's signs that were stolen, Equality California political director Tom Temprano tweeted that news, adding that Murphy was the only Black and LGBTQ candidate in the race.

Early Wednesday morning, Murphy tweeted, "So much to say, but for now just two words — Thank You."

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