|Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and Tri Valley attorney Catharine Baker.|
WHAT’S THE BEEF There’s the fight on the campaign trail and there's the fight among special interests. Similar to the primary when over $3 million was spent, primarily for and against Democrats Steve Glazer and Sbranti, the general election has seen rivers of independent expenditures. Much of the outlay has come in the last few weeks. Conservative-backed IE Spirit of Democracy California, for instance, dropped more than $1 million on behalf of Baker. The move was a reaction to another cool million spent in combination of Sbranti’s own campaign and the IE represented by the teachers’ union. Baker’s strategy is to describe Sbranti in the mold of just another tax-and-spend Democrat in Sacramento. Sbranti is using a similar move to tie Baker to the Tea Party with the IE partially funded by Republican activist Charles Munger as proof.
PAST RESULTS 2014 June Primary: 1. Catherine Baker 31,632 (36.7%) 2. Tim Sbranti 25,217 (29.2%) 3. Steve Glazer 19,636 (22.8%) 4. Newell Anerich 9,794 (11.4%). 2012 General Election: 1. Joan Buchanan (D) 125,952 (59.2%) 2. Al Phillips (R) 86,803 (40.8%).
CAMPAIGN FINANCE (Through Sept. 30): Sbranti $59,507 cash on hand, $1,591,481 since last filing: Baker $55,771 cash on hand, $169,853 since last filing.
OUTLOOK Baker is a very capable candidate, which is especially surprising since she has no other political experience other working briefly in her 20s for Rep. Mary Bono. Sbranti, however, has proven to be an excellent mayor in Dublin, but his energy level is a concern. On the issues, the special interests money, and the makeup of the candidates represent a stalemate. But, the difference at the polls may follow Baker’s uncertain position on Proposition 2, the rainy day fund initiative. Baker did not flip-flop on the issue, but Sbranti deftly latched onto the nuance in her answers and may have successfully undermined her candidacy. The mailer Sbranti’s campaign sent asserting Baker opposes Prop. 2 hurt and the quick response from Baker only highlighted the blow’s power.
PREDICTION 1. Sbranti 2. Baker