Next year, Mayor Beverly Johnson will be termed out and there will be an open seat for Alameda Mayor, here are my guesses as to who might be running for her seat. The issues will be the same as they always are: traffic and development. The only thing that will change (and not by an incredible margin) will be the faces. A exercise that should bring out more than the typical faces will be predicting who will run for the Council seat that will be vacated by Frank Matarrese, who is termed out.
Because if anyone is deciding to run for Mayor, they’ve already started the political calculations right now. Splitting the vote, voter turnout, political fallout…these are all things to consider when the decision is ultimately made. In a perfect world, we would have ranked choice voting in order to have the greatest amount of choice without fear of “wasting” our vote. But I don’t know if the political will is there to get RCV implemented before 2010.
Doug deHaan had mayoral aspirations in 2006 when he ran with the Slate, he’ll definitely be eyeing this opportunity to get another crack at the top seat. He’s got the momentum from his run last year for his council seat and will come in with significant name recognition from the 2008 election. Plus, like his mayoral run in 2006, he’s got nothing to lose if he does run. If he wins, great. If he loses, he’ll still be on the Council. Arguably, this is his best opportunity to run for Mayor because if he were to wait to be termed out he would face running against an incumbent Mayor.
Frank Matarrese will also be termed out — like the Mayor — in 2010 from his Council seat. The next, obvious, step is Mayor. He won’t have as much name recognition as Doug deHaan, since he won’t have participated in an election fairly recently. So look to Frank M. begin to up the monthly Town Hall meetings and become more readily available for media quotes.
Marie Gilmore just might make a run for the Mayor seat. Like Doug d. if she loses she still has her Council seat. She, also like Doug d., has the momentum and name recognition from the 2008 election. She won her seat back putting minimal effort into the campaign, if she puts her mind and momentum into a vigorous campaign, she might pull off a spectacular win.
Tony Daysog considered a run for Mayor back in 2006 and then backed off and instead chose to run for the AC Transit Board. My gut at the time told me he was talked out of it to not split the vote with Doug d. but who knows what the real politics were behind it. I thought at the time Tony D. could have been a contender and today I think he has a fair amount of name recognition from his time on the Council and the subsequent runs for office. He’s been highly visible lately, with an ad in the newspaper touting his election endorsements and his role on the Fiscal Sustainability Committee, he’s doing his best to keep his name fresh on people’s minds.
Lena Tam’s seat will be up for re-election in 2010, she might opt to take her chances and run for the top seat. After all, she was a significant vote getter in the 2006 election despite not being an incumbent. However, Lena T. has a lot more to lose than anyone else if she does run for Mayor and didn’t win. She would be unable to run concurrently for her Council seat and for Mayor so it could be possible for her be off the Council entirely were she to make such a risky move. The political calculus would have to be super compelling to give up what would be a relatively easy win as an incumbent against — what might prove to be — a heavily stacked field for mayor.
Kevin Kennedy, our resident (and elected) financial dude. His leadership role in making the AP& T issue prominent and heading the Fiscal Sustainability Committee has given him more name recognition than the one off election. Added to that the budget woes and Kevin K. is usually the go to guy to talk about the financial health of the City, for obvious reasons. He could be an interesting addition into the mix. He has nothing to lose since he was just reelected as Treasurer and ran unopposed. His strongest point: his politics are relatively unknown so he could be viewed as politically neutral. His weakest point: his politics are relatively unknown so he could be viewed as politically connected with “the other guy” (whoever “the other guy” is supposed to be depending on your politics).