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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Interest builds for Thurmond's open Assembly seat

15TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
A growing number of politicos in the 15th Assembly District are realizing the race next year to replace Tony Thurmond is going to be a wide-open affair. And the list of potential candidate is growing by the weeks.

Oakland District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb and Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles were the first in after Thurmond announced in April that he will run for state superintendent of public instruction. Thurmond was first elected to the assembly seat roughly covering Richmond, Berkeley and North Oakland in 2014.

Others have since showed interest, including Berkeley school board member Judy Appel and first-term Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett, the nephew of former East Bay Rep. Ron Dellums.

On Friday, Buffy Wicks, a senior consultant for both of Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, announced her candidacy.

Emeryville Mayor Dianne Martinez is also reportedly mulling a run in the 15th District, according to a source. Martinez was named vice chair of the Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee last January.

The amount of interest in the seat is intensified by the new era of 12-year term limits in the state Legislature where open seats are becoming increasingly rare. In addition, the current potential field lacks anyone at this time considered anywhere remotely a front runner.

This dynamic typically lends itself to a top-tier candidate entering the race late, possibly one or more already an incumbent in local East Bay government.

Nevertheless, the race is shaping up as the East Bay's marquee primary race in 2018.

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