Veteran Berkeley District 3 City Councilmember Maudelle Shirek is keeping her options open for a possible re-election campaign, despite the fact that she was disqualified earlier this month from the November ballot for failure to provide the proper number of qualified nomination signatures.
Shirek reportedly won a dual endorsement recommendation from the Alameda County Service Employees International Union when she showed up last weekend at a candidates’ meeting of the labor group to seek their support. The SEIU dual endorsement also went to Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Chair Max Anderson, who will appear on the November ballot as a District 3 City Council candidate.
Neighborhood organizer Laura Menard and political newcomer Jeffrey Benefiel are also running for the District 3 seat.
The recommendation now goes to the Alameda County Central Labor Council, which will conduct candidate interviews for all Alameda County political races in mid-September. A source at the Central Labor Council said that while the council tends to follow the recommendations of local unions in candidate endorsements, those endorsements are not automatic.
The SEIU recommendation was first reported earlier this week in other area newspapers and was confirmed by Anderson.
Neither Shirek, members of her staff, nor representatives of SEIU Local 790 returned several calls concerning the story and rumors that Shirek has been considering conducting a write-in campaign for her seat. However, candidate Max Anderson confirmed that Shirek attended the SEIU meeting and asked for the union support. He said she did not mention a possible write-in campaign.
By law, candidates cannot officially begin running a write-in campaign until at least 57 days before the election. For the Nov. 2 election, that would not occur until the second week in September.
“We’ll have to just wait and see,” Anderson said, concerning a possibly Shirek re-entry into the race. “I’m going to run the same type of race as I’d always planned.” He expressed concern that “with Laura Menard in the race,” Shirek’s re-entry might “split the progressive vote,” possibly allowing the more moderate Menard to win.
Anderson had announced his intention to run for the District 3 seat before Shirek was disqualified. In an earlier interview, he had told the Daily Planet that he was running for the seat, and not specifically against Shirek.