The race has pitted three well-known Democrats, all of whom have held public office, in a no-holds barred primary contest to serve the final two years of Mark DeSaulnier's term. DeSaulnier resigned in January when he was sworn into Congress as the 11th District representative.
Steve Glazer, mayor of Orinda, has been blasted by a Democrat political action committee in targeted messages completely contradictory messages. Republicans receive mail labelling him as a "tax and spend liberal" tied to Governor Jerry Brown. Dems receive a different message labelling him as too conservative.
Glazer is the target of most organized labor just like he was last June when he ran in a four-way primary to replace Joan Buchanan in the 16th Assembly seat. The unions backed then-Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti in a race eventually won by Republican Catharine Baker.
He's facing Buchanan and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla of Concord. Bonilla has lined up endorsements of most of the labor unions as well as many of the better known Democratic elected officials (past and current) in the district.
By contrast, Glazer has been endorsed by Michaela Hertle, the lone Republican to file, who then withdrew and backed Glazer. He also has picked up significant endorsements from Republicans such as former Congressman Bill Banker and former Contra Costa Sheriff and Assemblyman Richard Rainey. He had sent around a mailer touting his Republican support that includes Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne. His campaign also has been bolstered by outside expenditures.
Buchanan, who served six years in the Assembly after serving six terms on the San Ramon Valley school board, has been painted with the same brush as Bonilla in mailings independent from Glazer's campaign. Some of those have been blatant cheap shots dealing with the per-diem given to legislators that is routinely accepted by politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Given that Republicans and independents account for more than half of the voters, Glazer seems a good bet to make the run-off. The key question is whether Buchanan musters enough voters loyal to her to make the run-off against the much better funded and union-supported Bonilla.
This election has drawn more media attention than would be expected and turnout likely will follow. An earlier special election in Southern California had a turnout under 10 percent. It will be interesting to see if the flood of direct mail pieces translates to more voters weighing in.
Stay tuned. We may know by this time tomorrow which two advance to May 19 run-off.