The Tri-Valley has a new state senator, with Orinda Democrat Steve Glazer taking the oath of office at the State Capitol on Thursday morning.
Glazer earned the right to fill the State Senate District 7 vacancy with a victory by nine percentage points in last week's special runoff election.
"I have always felt the pull of public service as the highest calling," Glazer said in a statement after taking the oath of office. "And so I am here today humbled and honored to serve with some old and new friends in this State Senate."
"I thank the members of the Senate for their warm welcome. I especially thank the voters of the 7th District for their trust in my ability to represent them in the Capitol of the greatest state in the Union," he added.
The 11-year Orinda councilman received 68,996 votes (or 54.5% of the ballots cast) in the May 19 election, according to final results posted on the California Secretary of State website. His opponent, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), garnered 45.5% of the vote.
Just over 26% of eligible voters cast ballots in the special election, contested in parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. That turnout was about 2.5% higher than the voter participation in the March special primary election -- which set the stage for the Glazer-Bonilla runoff.
Glazer had served on the Orinda City Council since 2004 with three turns as mayor, is a small business owner and a former political adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, who administered the oath of office to Glazer on the State Senate floor in Sacramento on Thursday.
The election victory last week marked a political turnaround for Glazer compared to this time last year.
In June 2014, he was coming off a disappointing third-place finish in the primary election for the State Assembly 16th District seat, approximately 6.5% below qualifying for the two-candidate runoff eventually won by Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) in November.
The 57-year-old Glazer didn't throw his hat into the State Senate race until late-January, turning in his candidacy paperwork on the final day to qualify for the special primary election. He went on to finish first in that primary with 33.7% of the vote.
And with the runoff win last week, Glazer has catapulted himself into one of 40 seats in California's upper legislative house. He is completing the unexpired term left vacant when former State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier resigned following his election to Congress.
Glazer will face the ballot box again next year, when the District 7 seat comes up for regular election.
The Orinda City Council is scheduled to discuss alternatives next week for what to do about the vacancy now created on its dais, according to city clerk Michele Olsen.
Other election takeaways
* The combined cost of holding the special runoff election was estimated at $2.4 million, according to officials from each county.
* The final voter participation came in at 26.07% of the 485,220 registered voters district-wide.
* Turnout was higher in Contra Costa County (27.51%) than Alameda County (21.44%). About four-fifths of the 7th District is in Contra Costa.
* Almost 83% of participating Contra Costa County voters mailed in their ballots, with the remaining 17.2% going out to the polls Election Day. The split was 80.3% vote-by-mail and 19.7% at the polls in Alameda County.
* Glazer finished comfortably ahead in each county, earning 57% in Alameda and 53.9% in Contra Costa.
* The 7th State Senate 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.