Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Registrar nixes Superior Court hopeful’s endorsement from candidate statement

Alameda County Superior Court candidate is in
a runoff in November against Barbara Thomas.
Alameda County Superior Court judicial candidate Scott Jackson wants to include a prized endorsement on his candidate statement. But, the Alameda County registrar is saying no.

Jackson, who is facing Alameda attorney Barbara Thomas in a runoff for a seat on the Superior Court this fall, is petitioning the registar’s decision to delete his Alameda County Democratic Party endorsement from his candidate statement. The short passage is included in the voter guide due to be sent next month.

In its denial, the county registrar said the inclusion of Jackson’s political endorsement violates the state’s election code prohibiting "party affiliation of the candidate, nor membership or activity in partisan political organizations.”

But Jackson’s campaign says the county registrar has allowed similar statements in the past. In 2014, the campaign offered, an Alameda County Water District candidate stated his membership in the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee in the 25th Assembly District.

“I strongly believe the County is in the wrong in denying me the opportunity to mention my Democratic Party endorsement, especially when the County has not applied this rejection across the board and in the past have allowed other candidates to include mention of being endorsed by political parties,” said Jackson.

The Alameda County Registrar’s office has not yet responded for comment on the status of the petition.

In June, Jackson finished second to Thomas in a three-person race to replace retiring Alameda County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Appel. Thomas won 48 percent of the vote, but failed to win a simple majority required to avoid a runoff this November.

In addition, open Superior Court seats are a rarity in East Bay politics and promoting the backing of the county’s strongest political group may be crucial in getting Jackson elected. The prominence of the voter guide in down ballot races, such as this one, is also amplified since media attention could be sparse.

During an Alameda County Democratic Central Committee pre-primary endorsement meeting, many party leaders expressed support for Jackson, along with the need for greater diversity at the county judiciary. Jackson, who split the primary endorsement with David Lim, is black. Lim finished third in the primary.

Kathy Neal, a member of the Alameda County Central Committee called the registar’s application of the election code “spotty.“

“I believe Scott Jackson is not in violation of state election code since he doesn’t state he’s a Democrat or involved with the party,” said Neal.


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