By Roz Rogoff
Election Post MortemUploaded: Nov 10, 2011
This election was easy to predict and my predictions came out right on the money, except for the percent spread between Wilson and O'Loane. I thought Wilson would do better, but his weak showing was brought about by his own lack of involvement.
For someone who wanted to stay on the Council so badly, Wilson didn't make a much of an effort in the actual race. He didn't raise much money or do a lot of campaigning. If Abram had worked a little harder at it, the outcome might not have changed but the vote could have been a lot closer.
Wilson ran on past accomplishments and name recognition, but that wasn't enough against the big pots of money and political support for Phil O'Loane. O'Loane raised the most money in the City Council race and reportedly spent the most money. He ran as outsider at a time when voters wanted to kick insiders out.
Livermore Mayor, Marshall Kemena, was also rejected by voters in Livermore. So termed out Mayors should get the message that they served their terms and should move on to something else. It's not clear what Abram should move on to after losing the City election. This loss could hurt him in State and regional contests next year.
Scott Perkins represented the middle road between the outsiders and insiders, so logically he attracted voters from both sides. Voters wanted to be heard. They felt disconnected from the City Council. Scott bridged that gap by actually listening to everyone and not just my side or their side. Perkin's campaign strategy involved walking neighborhoods and speaking to residents, which proved very effective.
Rowley seemed to be coming from behind at the start. She had low name recognition for someone who has been on the City Council for eight years. She and Scott Perkins were elected in 2003, with hardly any opposition since the incumbents chose not to run that year. Only newcomer Ed Cahill ran and not much was known about him. Some suspected he was part of the group that spawned the Gang of Three, and because he financed his own campaign nobody knew where his support came from.
There was no election in 2007 because nobody ran against anyone. So Wilson, Rowley, and Perkins were automatically reelected. This year was the first time Rowley and Perkins ran for reelection, so there was no way to predict how they would do with new opponents, or in Carol's case, shifting from Council member to Mayor.
This never seemed right to me, and I believe Carol made a mistake to do it. Carol is involved in a lot of other organizations and activities, so she won't lack for things to do or ways to work for San Ramon. She could run for Council again in 2013 or reapply for the Parks Commission.
Carol's opponent for Mayor, Bill Clarkson, has a lot of name recognition and support from his experience as a School District Trustee, local businessman, and activity in Rotary. Clarkson also emphasized his openness and willingness to listen to everyone and be less judgmental than Mayor Wilson often appeared to be. This message resonated with voters.
Clarkson, Perkins, and O'Loane will be sworn in at the rescheduled City Council Meeting on December 5th. Now we'll see if their campaign promises hold up and the new directions they promised really go somewhere.