Buchanan concedes State Senate race, endorses Bonilla in runoff

Estimated 13,300 ballots still to be counted between counties in special primary

State Senate District 7 is poised for all-Democrat special runoff election this May between Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, with former Tri-Valley Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan conceding her third-place finish Election Night despite thousands of ballots still to be counted in the special primary.

"I don't expect the results to change," Buchanan, the third prominent Democrat in the primary, said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

The Alamo resident announced that she congratulated second-place Bonilla (D-Concord) late Tuesday night and that she would be endorsing Bonilla in the May 19 runoff.

Roughly 2,250 votes separated Bonilla (24.9%) and Buchanan (22.6%), as of the final unofficial Election Night totals, in the battle for second place in the primary for the vacant State Senate seat. Glazer finished comfortably in first place, with 32.8% of the votes cast.

"It was positive evidence that voters want a fiscally responsible, bipartisan problem-solver who is independent from powerful special interests," Glazer said in an interview Wednesday morning.

Election Night results include all of the precincts and vote-by-mail ballots received before Election Day, but they do not incorporate approximately 13,330 qualifying vote-by-mail and provisional ballots still to be counted between Contra Costa and Alameda counties, according to election officials.

Republican Michaela Hertle, a Pleasanton political newcomer who withdrew from the race after qualifying for the ballot, still received 17% of the vote in the primary, as of Election Night. The final candidate, Concord Democrat and professor Terry Kremin, finished a distant fifth at 2.8%

The primary's totals must be certified by March 27.

Buchanan, who served six years in the State Assembly before being termed out last year, said she doesn't anticipate leapfrogging Bonilla once the final tallies come in.

"We're very proud of the campaign we ran," Buchanan said, later adding, "It's hard to compete with the big independent expenditures made on behalf of the other competitors."

In offering her support to Bonilla, Buchanan cited their similar views on her top legislative priority, education. "I think her values and my values are most closely aligned on that issue," Buchanan said.

Bonilla campaign officials have not yet responded to requests for comment.

Although she expected to finish higher in the primary, Buchanan noted that, "We also realize these low-turnout elections are hard to predict."

Voter participation across both counties stood at about 20.1% at the end of Election Night. The estimated remaining ballots could increase the turnout to closer to 23%.

Contra Costa election officials reported having approximately 9,900 ballots left to review and tally, including about 9,000 vote-by-mail ballots received on Election Day and about 900 provisional ballots.

Alameda County officials reported having at least 3,200 mailed-in ballots and about 230 provisional ballots remaining.

More than three-quarters of registered 7th District voters reside in Contra Costa County.

The winner of the May runoff will complete the remainder of the four-year term set to expire at the end of 2016, which was vacated by Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) following his election to Congress.

The 7th District includes Pleasanton, Livermore and Sunol at the south end, Brentwood, Antioch, Pittsburg and Concord to the north, Orinda, Lafayette and Walnut Creek to the west, and the San Ramon Valley.

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2 people like this
Posted by Norm
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Mar 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

We get the government we vote for. 23 to 25 percent turnout!! No wonder our State is so messed up.

8 people like this
Posted by Daveg
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 19, 2015 at 10:08 am

Daveg is a registered user.

For Carolyn Phinney, Ph.D., now that your candidate has conceded and the dishonest tactics of the Democratic leaning "Asian American Small Business PAC" have failed, who are you now supporting? It appears that although an extremely small number of voters actually voted, those that did felt that Steve Glazor is one that can "work" with both sides of the aisle. I will not be surprised if unions and the above mentioned Asian American Small Business PAC redouble their efforts to smear Steve Glazer. Stay tuned!

2 people like this
Posted by Jean Ann
a resident of Happy Valley
on Mar 20, 2015 at 12:28 am

Although there was a small turnout, over 67% of the voters did NOT vote for Glazer. Also, there was plenty of "smearing" going on for several candidates.

6 people like this
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 20, 2015 at 8:26 am

And over 75% of the voters did NOT vote for Bonilla and 77% did NOT vote for Buchanan.

One could argue that with all the mailers, many people were confused and did not vote so only the informed voters voted. In fact, if the republican who dropped out of the race was not on the ballot it is possible that Glazer would have received over 50% of the vote; eliminating the run-off being that Glazer was middle of the road while Bonilla and Buchanan were extreme on the left. Anyway, it is all conjecture. the CTA is going to spend all the money they forcefully take out of each teacher's paycheck for union dues on Bonilla.

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