In a crowded field in which candidates are trying to distinguish themselves from one other—such as in the current four member June 3 Democratic primary to succeed Loni Hancock as California Assemblymember from the 14th Assembly District—individual and group endorsements can be a key factor in victory or defeat.
If the backing of the local assemblymembers is one of the most important of those endorsements, East Bay Regional Park District Director and former Berkeley City Councilmember Nancy Skinner and Richmond City Councilmember Tony Thurmond have hit the biggest prize.
Skinner has won the trifecta, with endorsements from Hancock herself as well as the past two 14th District assemblymembers whom Hancock succeeded in office: Hancock’s husband, current Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, and Dion Aroner, who ran Bates’ Sacramento office for many years before term limits required him to step down.
But Thurmond has won the endorsement of first-termer Sandré Swanson from the adjoining 16th Assembly District.
Meanwhile, in a district that favors environmental issues, Skinner and Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington are splitting the important environmental organization endorsements. Skinner, Thurmond, and Worthington are splitting the labor organization endorsements. Thurmond is running away with the public safety employee organization endorsements, while Berkeley physician Phil Polakoff has gotten the individual endorsements of the two local county sheriffs.
With announcement of the Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club still pending, and the El Cerrito and Wellstone Democratic clubs unable to decide on an endorsement, Worthington has swept the three local Democratic clubs that have decided on a nominee to back.
Meanwhile Polakoff, the only non-elected official in the Democratic primary race, trails his three opponents in endorsements by elected officials, and lists only two organizational endorsements.
Below are key individual endorsements either from inside District 14 itself or important statewide organizations, based on the four candidates’ campaign websites.
Thurmond and Worthington have split the two business-oriented endorsements, with Skinner getting the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and Worthington getting the East Bay Small Business Council PAC.
Skinner and Worthington have split the environmental organization endorsements, Skinner getting the California League of Conservation Voters and the two candidates sharing the Sierra Club endorsement (the Sierra Club endorsement comes under the one heading of the organization, but is made up of the votes of several Sierra Club groups).
Endorsements by various labor organizations are spread out among all the candidates, the most diverse of all the endorsement categories. Skinner and Thurmond both list six labor endorsements, Worthington lists four, and Polakoff one.
Skinner: SEIU State Council (dual-endorsed with Worthington), California Federation of Teachers, California Nurses Association, Contra Costa County Labor Council (dual-endorsed with Thurmond), AFSCME Local 2428, Teamsters Local 7;
Thurmond: AFSCME AFL-CIO California, Contra Costa County Labor Council (dual-endorsed with Skinner), AFSCME Local 3299, Alameda County Laborers Local 304, Operating Engineers Local 3, Teamsters Local 70);
Worthington: SEIU State Council (dual-endorsed with Skinner), AFSCME Local 3299 (dual-endorsed with Thurmond), International Association of Machinists Local 1546, Teamsters Joint Council 7 (dual-endorsed with Polakoff);
Polakoff: Teamsters Joint Council 7 (dual-endorsed with Worthington).
Worthington lists three political organizations among his endorsements (Cal Berkeley Democrats, East Bay LGBT Democratic Club, and Progressive Democrats of the East Bay), while Thurmond lists one (Black American Political Action Committee).
Worthington and Thurmond split the only two professional organization endorsements.
Worthington: Engineers and Scientists of California Local 20;
Thurmond: Contractors Alliance of Richmond
With five endorsements from public safety employee organizations, Thurmond has by far the largest number of endorsements in this category. The three other candidates have one public safety employee organization endorsement apiece.
Thurmond: Berkeley Police Association, Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California, Richmond Firefighters Local 188, Richmond Police Officers Association;
Polakoff: IAFF Local 55, Oakland Firefighters;
Skinner: United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County IAFF Local 1230;
Worthington: Berkeley Firefighters Association Local 1227.
Thurmond: Black American Political Action Committee;
Worthington: Equality California, PAC devoted to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.
Worthington: Berkeley Daily Planet.
AC Transit Board
Skinner three endorsements (Board President Chris Peeples, Rocky Fernandez, Greg Harper), Thurmond one endorsement (Joe Wallace), Worthington one endorsement (Elsa Ortiz).
Albany City Council
Skinner four endorsements (Mayor Bob Lieber [dual with Worthington], Marge Atkinson [dual with Worthington], Jewel Okawachi, Joanne Wile). Worthington three endorsements (Bob Lieber [dual with Skinner], Marge Atkinson [dual with Skinner], Farid Javandel).
BART Board of Directors
Skinner one (Gail Murray). Thurmond one (Lynette Sweet).
Berkeley City Council
Skinner four (Mayor Tom Bates, Laurie Capitelli, Linda Maio, Max Anderson [dual with Worthington], Darryl Moore [dual with Worthington]). Worthington three (Dona Spring, Max Anderson [dual with Skinner], Darryl Moore [dual with Worthington]).
Berkeley School Board
Worthington two (John Selawsky, Rio Bauce). Skinner two (Karen Hemphill, Nancy Riddle).
California State Assemblymembers
Thurmond six (Amina Wilmer Carter, Mark DeSaulnier [dual with Skinner], Mervyn Dymally, Fiona Ma, Sandré Swanson, Alberto Torrico). Skinner four (Speaker Pro Tempore Sally Lieber, Mark DeSaulnier [dual with Thurmond], Lonnie Hancock, Mary Hyashi [dual with Worthington]. Worthington two (Mary Hyashi [dual with Skinner], Mark Leno).
California State Senate
Skinner two (Sheila Kuehl, Tom Torlakson). Thurmond one (Mark Ridley-Thomas).
East Bay Regional Park Board
Skinner five (Beverly Lane, Ted Radke, Doug Siden, John Sutter, Ayn Wieskamp).
EBMUD Board of Directors
Skinner two (Katy Foulkes, Andy Katz [dual with Worthington]). Worthington two (Doug Linney, Andy Katz [dual with Skinner]).
El Cerrito City Council
Skinner four (Mayor Bill Jones, Janet Abelson, Jan Bridges, Sandi Potter). Worthington one (Ruth Skinner).
Emeryville School Board
Skinner two (Joshua Simon, Cheryl Webb). Thurmond one (Miguel Dwin).
Emeryville City Council
Skinner three (Vice Mayor Ruth Atkin [dual with Worthington], Nora Davis, John Fricke). Worthington two (Mayor Ken Bukowski, Vice Mayor Ruth Atkin [dual with Skinner]).
Oakland City Council
Worthington two [President Ignacio De La Fuente, Larry Reid [dual with Thurmond]). Skinner one (Pat Kernighan). Thurmond one (Larry Reid [dual with Worthington]).
Oakland School Board
Skinner two (President David Kakishiba, Kerry Hamill). Thurmond one (Greg Hodge).
Peralta Community College District Board
Skinner two (Board President Cy Gulassa, Nicky Gonzalez Yuen). Thurmond one (Abel Guillen).
Richmond City Council
Thurmond six (Nat Bates, Tom Butt, Ludmyma Lopez, John Marquez, Harpreet Sanhu, Maria Viramontes).
San Pablo City Council
Thurmond one (Genoveva Garcia-Calloway).
Polakoff two (Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern, Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf).
West Contra Costa School Board
Thurmond two (Dave Brown, Audrey Miles). Skinner one (Madeline Kronenberg).
Individual endorsements in the AD14 campaign can be found on the candidates’ website endorsement pages: