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State Assembly race tightens; Baker’s lead shrinks to 627 votes

Alameda, Contra Costa officials still counting vote-by-mail, provisional, conditional ballots

The race to represent Pleasanton in the State Assembly has narrowed to a 0.4% lead for Republican incumbent Catharine Baker as Democrat challenger Rebecca Bauer-Kahan has gained two percentage points since Election Night, as pending ballots continue to be processed in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

A lead that stood at 51.2% to 48.8% for Baker at the end of Election Night has dwindled as results have been updated in the ensuing days, and the incumbent's edge now sits at 50.2% to 49.8%, or just 627 votes (78,252 to 77,625), as of the latest totals posted to the California Secretary of State’s website on Sunday evening.

The results continue to fluctuate as election officials in both counties work to process remaining vote-by-mail, provisional and conditional ballots with the goal of completing their counts in the days ahead. Local results must be certified by Dec. 7.

“Margins always narrow as more ballots are counted, as they have here, and the Alameda County and the Contra Costa County Registrars are working hard to count ballots,” Baker told the Weekly over the weekend. “We’ll continue monitoring the count with both offices in the coming days and analyzing the outcome.”

Bauer-Kahan said Sunday, "While there are still tens of thousands of ballots left to be counted, we are incredibly encouraged by the results and current trends. Right now, our team is focused on ensuring that every vote is counted – and preventing any attempt to disrupt the counting and disenfranchise voters."

Election Night totals are considered unofficial as they include only early-arriving vote-by-mail ballots and counts reported by all precincts in the hours after polls closed on Tuesday. Assembly District 16 spans parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, encompassing the Tri-Valley and Lamorinda communities as well as a portion of Walnut Creek.

Contra Costa County Elections Division officials estimate there are about 82,000 vote-by-mail envelopes still to be tallied (those ballots just need to be postmarked by Election Day), as well as 25,000 provisionals and 1,000 conditional-voter registrations. They expect to announce their next results update this coming Friday afternoon.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ Office said before the weekend that there were 200,000 eligible vote-by-mail ballots left to count, plus an unconfirmed number of provisional and conditional ballots. The office plans to update results each day until finalized.

Both counties note that the pending ballot totals are county-wide, as there’s no way to break it down by city or district at this point.

As results become clearer statewide, the Democrats appear to have already regained a supermajority in the Assembly, with 56 districts going to the Democrats and 20 set for the Republicans -- with four districts, including District 16, still too close to call.

Baker, a Republican attorney from Dublin, has served two terms in the Assembly, winning a tight election in 2014 and then retaining the key seat for the GOP in 2016.

Bauer-Kahan, an Orinda Democrat, is an attorney, law professor and married mother of school-age children who entered her first Assembly election with school volunteer and nonprofit service experience, but no elected or local government service time, trying to offer District 16 a new type of political voice in Sacramento.

That was markedly similar background to Baker’s in 2014 when the Republican attorney won her first-ever elected position by defeating union-backed Democrat and former Dublin mayor Tim Sbranti for the open Assembly seat after Democrat Joan Buchanan termed out.

This general election represented a rematch between the only two District 16 candidates on the primary election ballot. Baker finished ahead in June by 13.2%, but Bauer-Kahan has appeared buoyed by the “blue wave” anticipated at the polls in the required runoff this November.

During the campaign this fall, Baker tried to position herself as an independent voice who delivers results for the communities in her district and who is willing to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to achieve key constituent priorities.

Bauer-Kahan presented herself as a Democrat who would always represent the voice of District 16 residents, compared to Baker’s record, especially on women’s rights, environmental protection and gun control.

The Baker campaign cited her voting history as progressive and bipartisan, while Bauer-Kahan backers argue the incumbent hadn't demonstrated enough consistency.

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Comments

33 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Nov 11, 2018 at 4:49 pm

I like Catherine Baker but wanted to send a clear message to Trump and his fellow Republicans that Trump's behavior and"leadership" are intolerable. So I voted Democrat up and down the ballot.


22 people like this
Posted by Your kidding
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 11, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Grumpy you don’t really believe Trump or anyone in the other states is really concerned about California? BecUse they don’t.


13 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 11, 2018 at 5:44 pm

Your message did not get past the ballot count.


8 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 11, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Ha ha fake Grumpy. But I don’t understand your point. You’re not a Democrat—that’s clear by your failure to use the proper adjective “Democratic”—but are you suggesting that you actually voted for a Democrat?


Like this comment
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 12, 2018 at 7:21 am

I voted straight Republic up and down the ballot. I wanted to send a message but I forgot what it was!


5 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 12, 2018 at 9:29 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

Okie dokie.

Well, we’ll see what happens. Baker had nearly every paper’s endorsements, but her party’s brand is struggling.

Unfortunately, voters have been voting more nationally than locally ever since Gingrich realized that that was a change he could make. And it’s cleared out the political moderates.


3 people like this
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Nov 12, 2018 at 9:46 am

Are such attempts happening in this race as mentioned at the end of this paragraph? If so, please give me the details. How would somebody do that at this point in the election process?

Bauer-Kahan said Sunday, "While there are still tens of thousands of ballots left to be counted, we are incredibly encouraged by the results and current trends. Right now, our team is focused on ensuring that every vote is counted – and preventing any attempt to disrupt the counting and disenfranchise voters."


Like this comment
Posted by Mocha
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 12, 2018 at 9:47 am

Just wish the ballot count did not seem so endless. And I wonder how the horrific fires across California are impacting the ballot count?


12 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 12, 2018 at 9:55 am

Spudly,

The last line is just this years talking point. It code for allowing illegal votes to count.


7 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 12, 2018 at 10:52 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

Okay fake Grumpy, please stop trying to move your location to match mine. (I am a registered user, you are not.)

The real answer to Spudly’s question is Bauer-Kahn is referring to if someone should try to prevent some mail in ballots from being counted. That’s not likely to happen here, but is the sort of thing happening in Florida. Personally, I think she shouldn’t have mentioned it.

Fake Grumpy, please stop trolling. It’s annoying.


13 people like this
Posted by Sueme
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Sueme is a registered user.

Has anyone ever noticed that the only ones who gain votes in extended vote counting and recounts, are Democrats? From Florida, to Arizona to the little old Tri Valley, it's always the same. Coincidence? No.


10 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Nov 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Sueme,

Yeah, funny how it’s always the Democrat that ends up picking up more votes. It’s noticed.

Doesn’t matter, we still have the senate and the votes for passing conservative judges.

We’ll have conservative opinion for decades.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe Schmoo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 12, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Republicans are moving out of California.


13 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm

With a super majority, the one thing we can count on is higher taxes.


5 people like this
Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 12, 2018 at 8:28 pm

DK, it's almost always the Dems that pick up votes in recounts, as historically Democrats are more likely to drop off votes and mail in votes. But rarely does it change anything: Web Link


16 people like this
Posted by Philip Henika
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:38 am

My criteria for voting is bipartisan, progressive based on voting record. Progressive is, IMO, 21st Century science and tech applied for the benefit of the people. For example, Baker was the only Republican in CA to vote for renewable energy i.e. SB 100. Baker was the first Republican who earned my informed vote. IMO, bipartisan, progressive is the way forward for America.


7 people like this
Posted by Roz Rogoff
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 14, 2018 at 12:55 am

The race was much closer than I expected, but Baker won definitively in Contra Costa County:

DEM - REBECCA BAUER-KAHAN 33,119 43.4%
REP - CATHARINE BAKER 43,198 56.60%

and squeaked by in Alameda County:

DEM - REBECCA BAUER-KAHAN 36,236 49.46%
REP - CATHARINE BAKER 37,026 50.54%


10 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 14, 2018 at 8:08 pm

Roz:
Interesting, because Contra Costa County is Rebecca Bauer-Khan back yard.
People in here back yard that know her did not vote for her!


7 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 14, 2018 at 10:47 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Sad. Emotional reaction potentially electing a poor candidate (Khan) over a proven effective one (baker) because of party affiliation over content of their work.

Can’t say I’m surprised, trump won over a similar strategy. We should be electing the best candidates, not voting against them to “send a message “. Only we feel the negative effects of that choice


2 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 15, 2018 at 2:40 pm

What a shocker...the Commucrats try to steal another one.


3 people like this
Posted by Bay Area Native
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 16, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Bay Area Native is a registered user.

Baker conceded. We lost a rare bipartisan voice of reason who actually worked on behalf of her constituents and was willing to cross party lines.

Bauer-CON flat out lied about Baker's record. Nice job once again by a hopelessly uniformed and stupid electorate.

Single party systems have proven throughout history to deliver the most representative and accountable governments so vote for the party not the candidate!


8 people like this
Posted by Philip Henika
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 16, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Assemblywoman Catherine Baker is a bipartisan progressive Republican with a proven track record. I am a Democrat who voted for her in the last election and in this election as well. I told her so at the Veterans Parade. I also called her to thank her for her vote on SB 100 re; renewable energy. I posted on her Facebook thanking her for her support for pet adoptions i.e. my dog Fulton is a canine therapy dog adopted from Guide Dogs. Catherine Baker is a known commodity. President Obama always says that there is more work to do.


1 person likes this
Posted by @Sueme
a resident of Castlewood
on Nov 17, 2018 at 4:04 am

Sueme,

Are you including the 2000 Presidential
recount in Florida in your broad statement
of how “recounts” always go to the Democrats?

That result of that infamous “recount” had a major national and global impact giving the recount, and thus the Presidency to GW Bush.


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

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