The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Incumbents Wins in Council; Saylor New Mayor; Stunners in Assembly and Supervisor

It was not a good night either for me or the Progressives in the Davis City Council Election. Don Saylor was the top vote getter, meaning he is Mayor Pro Tem and will be Mayor in 2010. Stephen Souza finished a close second. Sue Greenwald was re-elected to a third term but finished a rather distant third. Sydney Vergis was fourth. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald and Rob Roy wrapped things up.

We will have a more thorough analysis, but Sue won by finishing third in an all-incumbent vote in a number of precincts as well as heading up the more traditional progressive vote in the core, although her coat tails were not there. Sydney Vergis was the true third vote for Souza and Saylor, never finishing above third in any precinct.

Frankly, the bigger news was in the Assembly, where Mariko Yamada who looked down and out just a month ago, surged late to a narrow but decisive victory over Mayor Christopher Cabaldon who had managed to attract the support of most of the Democratic officeholders and the three predecessors at Assembly However, Mayor Cabaldon who had a large war chest and an even larger support from EdVoice, may overplayed his hand. Meanwhile the unions came in, spent half a million, and then just plain out organized the seemingly well-organized Cabaldon machine.

Mariko Yamada won in both counties by over 3%. She won almost all of Davis and surprisingly almost all of Woodland while Cabaldon won in his hometown of West Sacramento. Around three weeks ago I started to hear residents who had been supporting Cabaldon grow concerned with the large amount of mailers being thrown around. Yamada's IEs went on the attack. And when EdVoice responded with largely false attack ads it seemed to backfire. When Yamada was ahead after the absentee count it seemed all over (and it largely was).

Meanwhile equally stunning was the victory by Jim Provenza over two candidates. The shocker here was not that the former school member finished first, that seemed a foregone conclusion given the way the last few weeks worked out. What was really stunning was that he could get over 50% in a three-candidate field and avoid a costly and heated November runoff. But he too had over 50% in the absentees and stayed that way throughout the night, finishing a seemingly safe 50.5%.

Provenza was by far the best known of the candidates entering the race, but John Ferrera seemed to have seized the momentum early this year. He outraised Provenza. Beat him out for support from the Capital. But the one thing he could not do was get key labor endorsements. Provenza was able to close the gap on money and then the IEs took over and dumped a huge amount into the race. Kennedy finished at a respectable 15%, about where we thought given her stature.

So Jim Provenza represents the big victory for the beleaguered progressive left in Davis. It is hard to figure if Yamada's victory is a blow from the progressives, many of who were angered by her stance on county growth. And the Council race was a huge disappointed despite Sue Greenwald hanging on for a third term.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting