|CA17: Ro Khanna vs. Rep. Mike Honda|
|CA15: Ellen Corbett vs. Rep. Eric Swalwell|
3. 10th State Senate District>>> There is already signs of delicious political skulduggery in this race and likely candidate, Mary Hayashi, has even made a single peep! Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski is hoping to make the jump to the upper house of the State Legislature; however, a few of his once strong political allies are jumping ship. His long friendship with former Assemblymember Alberto Torrico has soured. Enter Fremont Planning Commissioner Roman Reed, a candidate with a compelling story and righteous cause of stem cell research on his record. This race will get downright dirty and with Hayashi plausibly being able to play the saint and peacemaker.
4. Hayward Mayor>>> A race featuring three sitting council members vying for the open mayor’s seat in Hayward seems exciting enough. However, it makes the list as much for its potential to titillate as the hot mess it may reveal in Hayward. The city is simply devoid of a generation of leaders, along with possessing no bench for the future. What will Councilmembers Barbara Halliday, Francisco Zermeno and Mark Salinas talk about it? What will they campaign on? What unites them is an equal share of most of Hayward’s positives. Except, none of them specifically contributed to the good fortune any more than the other three council members not running for mayor. One issue though may become a deciding factor. Hayward’s unpopular “Loop,” a virtual one-way highway plowing through downtown may make this race a one issue race. Were you for the Loop or against it?
5. 15th Assembly District>>> This is the race that finally test the limits of whether the Open Primary system can live up to its other more exotic name, the “Jungle Primary.” Whereas other races in 2012 and this year merely pit two contenders in the top-two primary, this one features a relatively even match up of six candidates. At first glance, the candidates hoping to replace termed-out Assemblymember Nancy Skinner appear quite vanilla, but it will be interesting how Elizabeth Echols, Sam Kang, Andy Katz, Peggy Moore, Tony Thurmond (all Democrats) and Rich Kinney (Republican) tear each other apart from here to June and then recalibrate for November.
HONORABLE MENTION: Oakland mayor, Alameda County superintendent of schools. AC Transit Board of Directors, at-large seat.