Counties finalize State Senate special primary results

Glazer, Bonilla remain in top spots; voter turnout just under 24%

Election officials in Alameda and Contra Costa counties have finalized their results from this month's special primary for State Senate District 7, with the candidate placements remaining the same as reported in Election Night totals and voter turnout coming in a shade under 24% overall.

The official results, which each county had to certify by last week, confirmed Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer as the top vote-getter with 38,411 votes, or 33.7% of ballots cast, and State Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla with 24.9% as the second-place finisher among the five candidates on the March 17 ballot.

Glazer and Bonilla, both Democrats, are now set to square off in a special general election on May 19 to decide who will be the next state senator for Pleasanton and the rest of District 7. The seat has been vacant since Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) resigned following his election to Congress.

While the remaining candidates expressed appreciation for the voters who participated in the special primary, both said they hoped to see a better turnout in the upcoming runoff election.

Primary participation was 23.58% of registered voters, according to final figures reported by the two counties.

Many thanks to Pleasanton voters for their tremendous vote of confidence in me," Glazer, 57, said last week. "I'm particularly grateful for the endorsement and support from Mayor Thorne and Council members Narum, Olson and Pentin."

However, Glazer also acknowledged, "I was disappointed in the low voter turnout. I hope that more voters will realize the important choice in the runoff and participate."

"I really admired the voters who came out to the polls and who participated," Bonilla, 54, said after the primary.

"I hope we can build on that interest for May 19," she added. "It is an election that can have a very direct impact on every voter and their community."

One of the key factors for Bonilla and Glazer going forward will be how the 42% of voters who cast ballots for other candidates in the primary will vote in the two-person runoff election.

Former Tri-Valley Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) received 22.4% of the primary vote -- 2,855 votes behind Bonilla for second place.

Some 16.1% of primary voters cast their ballots for Pleasanton resident and Republican Michaela Hertle, who announced she was dropping out of the race days after her name was placed on the election ballot. Hertle was the lone Republican in the primary.

The fifth candidate, professor and Concord resident Terry Kremin, finished with 2.8% and approximately 426 voters opted to support various write-in candidates.

Glazer and Bonilla continue to tout their endorsement lists, which have grown in the wake of the primary.

Third-place finisher Buchanan has now given her support to Bonilla. Hertle, who came in fourth despite publicly bowing out, endorsed Glazer in the weeks before the primary.

Looking ahead to the upcoming runoff, Glazer vowed to remain a non-partisan problem-solver if elected to the State Senate.

"Voters want leaders who will work across party lines to better our public schools and universities, fix our aging roads, highways and transit, and have the independence to stand up to special interests who dominate the Capitol," he added.

Glazer, a small business owner and former adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, is in his 11th year on the Orinda City Council.

Bonilla, a former Concord City Council member and Contra Costa County supervisor, is in her third term in the State Assembly. She represents the 14th Assembly District, which includes about a quarter of the 7th State Senate District in northern Contra Costa County.

She said her top priorities as a state senator would include transportation issues (including traffic mitigation and BART extensions), education and advocating for funding for adequate school facilities.

"I have a very strong and broad base of support, and I believe the voters will have a clear choice between what I represent with my strong record of problem-solving and working collaboratively to come up with solutions, versus somebody who does not have that experience," Bonilla added.

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.

Other takeaways from the special primary election:

* Voter turnout was higher in Contra Costa County (24.95%) than Alameda County (19.17%). About four-fifths of the 7th District is in Contra Costa.

* More than 83.2% of participating Alameda County voters mailed in their ballots, with the remaining 16.8% going out to the polls Election Day. The split was 85.3% vote-by-mail and 14.7% at the polls in Contra Costa County.

* Glazer finished comfortably ahead in each county, earning 36.04% in Alameda and 33.03% in Contra Costa.

* Bonilla used a 27.43% showing in her home county (6,130 votes more than Buchanan) to propel her to second place overall.

* Buchanan placed second in the Alameda County vote with 28.87%, more than doubling Bonilla's vote there. Bonilla actually finished fourth in Alameda County, topped by Hertle who received 17.46% compared to Bonilla's 14.04%.

* The final voter participation (23.58% of the 487,495 registered voters district-wide) includes approximately 650 ballots submitted by voters who either voted for multiple candidates or marked no name (nor write-in).

* The cost of holding the primary was estimated at $2.4 million, according to officials from each county. They estimated similar cost levels for the upcoming runoff.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


2 people like this
Posted by Voted
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Apr 1, 2015 at 9:50 am

Pretty pathetic that the election turnout was below 24%. It took maybe 15 minutes to research the contenders and vote.

2 people like this
Posted by ValenicaMom
a resident of Valencia
on Apr 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

It's very clear that Bonilla is just in this to prolong her career in Sacramento. The article argues that she's for more funding for schools, yet she was part of the substantial state cuts that took money out of our local classrooms. Maybe she was just too busy taking free trips instead of representing her most important constituents, kids. I hope Steve wins, he’ll stand up and do the job right.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: Mirror, Mirror on the . . . Fight?!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,102 views

Talking sports and life with Tommy Dyer
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 700 views