ELECTION '14: A few early hats in the ring

ELECTION '14: A few early hats in the ring

Michele Ellson

Updated at 7:03 p.m. Thursday, January 16 in bold

Candidates for an array of local races are beginning to stake their claims for a place on the November ballot.

A handful of candidates have formally signaled their intention to run, while others have kicked off fundraising efforts for to-be-announced campaigns.

Campaign finance records show that Mayor Marie Gilmore has begun raising money to campaign for a second term that. Jane Sullwold, a 2012 council candidate, has a fund for a 2014 run set up but said Wednesday that it’s “extremely unlikely” she’ll run for one of the two open council seats this fall.

Councilman Stewart Chen, who was elected to complete Rob Bonta’s unexpired term in 2012, confirmed in response to an e-mail from The Alamedan that he plans to run for a four-year term this November. Records show that Councilman Stewart Chen received some contributions during the first half of 2013.

Lena Tam, who will be termed out of her council seat this year after eight years on the dais, has filed paperwork to run for a seat on the BART board. She’s challenging one-term incumbent Robert Raburn for his seat, which represents Alameda, parts of Oakland and San Leandro.

Tam, an engineer who works as manager of water resources planning for the East Bay Municipal Utility District, touted budget-balancing experience, work forging collaboration between the city’s labor unions and management and advocacy for transit-oriented projects as tools she would bring to bear as a BART board member.

She said she supports a BART spur line in Alameda, though she said she would also need to “evaluate its cost-effectiveness in comparison to other options, as most of the transportation demand measures proposed for Alameda Point rely on access to public transit, particularly BART.”

Raburn has also expressed support for BART in Alameda, though he said fixing BART’s existing, core system should happen first.

Vice Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft isn’t up for election again until 2016, but she is already raising funds to run for a second term, records show. Councilman Tony Daysog’s seat is also up for grabs again in 2016.

Mike McMahon has said publicly that he plans to run for a fourth term on Alameda’s Board of Education, while board president Margie Sherratt told The Alamedan she hasn’t yet decided whether she will seek a second term. Another candidate, Solana Henneberry, confirmed Thursday that she intends to run.

Henneberry, a special education teacher and mother of three, said she would work to make sure students and teachers have the materials and support they need to succeed in the transition to Common Core standards if elected. She said she would apply "common sense solutions" to the district's problems.

Separately, school district leaders are making plans to put a bond measure for school construction and repair on the November ballot.

Three members of the Alameda Health Care District board, which oversees Alameda Hospital, will also be up for a vote, though the board’s duties will be diminished as Alameda Health System takes over day-to-day operation of the hospital.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta has been fundraising aggressively to retain his 18th District perch in the statehouse; he raised more than $266,000 in the first six months of 2013 – his first months in office – and made a big e-mail push to potential donors during the final days of the year. The county’s elections website doesn’t list any challengers yet (save San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting, who is actually running in the next district over).

The official nomination period for local offices starts July 14, but campaign finance filings can offer a window on who’s in the running. Campaign contribution and expenditure forms for the second half of 2013 are due at the end of January, and they may offer additional clues to who and what will be on Alamedans’ ballot on Election Day.