East Bay voters narrowed down their choices for three open Assembly seats Tuesday, with early returns indicating two will be Democrat-on-Democrat smackdowns this November while a third would be a more traditional Democrat-Republican matchup.
In the 8th Assembly District, the top two finishers in early ballots were Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta and Peralta Community College trustee Abel Guillen, of Oakland, trailed by AC Transit Director Joel Young, of Oakland. Republican Rhonda Weber, of Alameda, never mounted much of a campaign. The district includes most of Oakland as well as Alameda and San Leandro.
In the 20th Assembly District, early returns showed Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk, a Democrat, was in the lead, trailed by Hayward optometrist Jennifer Ong, also a Democrat. Running third was Union City Mayor Mark Green, who dropped his Democratic registration in 2010 and ran as an independent. Fourth was Hayward Unified School District board member Luis Reynoso, a Republican. Lagging much farther behind was New Haven Unified School District board member Sarabjit Cheema, a Democrat. The district includes Hayward, Union City and the northern part of Fremont as well as the Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Sunol, Ashland, Fairview and Cherryland unincorporated areas.
In the 11th Assembly District, early returns showed Suisun City Vice Mayor Mike Hudson, a Republican, and Oakley Councilman Jim Frazier, a Democrat, would finish with enough votes to advance to November.
Apparently headed for elimination were medical union negotiator Patricia Hernandez, of Rio Vista, a Democrat; former Vacaville Councilman Len Augustine, an independent candidate; retired Benicia fire Chief Gene Gantt, a Democrat; and programmer and artist Charles Kingeter, of Suisun City, a Democrat.
The district -- split among Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties -- includes Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville, Rio Vista, Isleton, Walnut Grove, Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Byron and Bethel Island.
In the 16th Assembly District, incumbent Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, and Republican Al Phillips, a union construction superintendent from Livermore, were the only two candidates on Tuesday and so automatically advance to November.
But Buchanan's substantial lead over Phillips in early returns could portend a difficult campaign for him ahead.
The district is in the Interstate 580-Interstate 680 corridor running through Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Blackhawk, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda.
Similarly, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, finished comfortably ahead of the only other candidate on the 7th State Senate District's ballot, Republican attorney Mark Meuser, of Walnut Creek. That district includes Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton, Concord, Danville, El Cerrito, Hercules, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, a portion of Richmond, Oakley, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon and Walnut Creek.
Assemblywomen Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, both are running unopposed, as is state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley.