OAKLAND -- The June primary is just a formality for Assembly District 18 candidates Rob Bonta and David Elrich, who are guaranteed to face off in the November election.

Bonta, the Alameda Democrat, is seeking a second, two-year term representing the predominately Democrat district that covers San Leandro, Alameda and most of Oakland except for North Oakland. Elrich, of San Leandro, is a former registered Democrat making his first bid for public office on the Republican ticket after working with the Los Angeles-area Republican Central Committee.

It's one of the most lopsided races in California, Elrich says, with he being a newcomer with a campaign war chest dwarfed by his incumbent opponent, but he's running to "get the message out" about fiscal responsibility and government regulation.

"Debt is our number one threat, period. They say we are in the black for $1 billion, but we have a half-trillion in liability for pensions," Elrich said. "Regulations and taxes are driving jobs and industries to other states. For us to say we are OK, we are lying to ourselves."

Elrich, 44, has a diverse work history. A Southern California native, he graduated from high school in San Fernando Valley, and worked in the entertainment industry before joining his family's funeral home business. He went on to work in marketing and the auto industry, and now works as an electrical contractor.

Bonta, an attorney, served on the Alameda Health Care District and Alameda City Council before becoming the first Filipino to be elected to the state Assembly in 2012.


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Since Bonta took office, 11 bills that he authored or worked on as a committee chair have been passed into law. Representing the most violent part of Alameda County, he is partly responsible for a law that made illegal high-capacity magazine conversion kits that turn regular guns into assault-style weapons, and another law that gives more school resources to students affected by violent crimes.

Among his current proposed legislation, Bonta has authored three early education bills, calling for mandatory kindergarten, universal transitional kindergarten for 4-year-olds, and a preschool fee waiver for low-income families. He is also working to increase funding for community college courses in jails and prison to fight recidivism, and is seeking state funding for a small business support center.

"My intent is to serve for as long as voters keeping sending me back," Bonta said. "I'm proud of my record."

Elrich and Bonta are both expected to appear at a League of Women Voters of Alameda candidate forum 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mastick Senior Center Social Hall, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., in Alameda.

Also on the agenda are "pros and cons" ballot measure presentations on the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014 (Proposition 41), the public records and open meetings measure (Proposition 42), and Alameda County's Measure AA, which seeks a half-cent sales- and use-tax increase for the local health care system.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.

Assembly District 18 candidates

Name: Rob Bonta
Age: 42
Career or job: Assemblyman, District 18; attorney
Education: B.A. in history from Yale; studied at Oxford; law degree from Yale
Priority issues: Strengthening public schools, improving public safety, jobs, a strong and secure social services safety net

Name: David Elrich
Age: 44
Career or job: Electrical contractor
Education: High school, some business courses
Priority issues: Fiscal responsibility, jobs and industry, privacy and private property