GUILLEN CONCEDES; BONTA APPEARS HEADED TO ASSEMBLY

GUILLEN CONCEDES; BONTA APPEARS HEADED TO ASSEMBLY

Michele Ellson

Updated at 8:20 a.m. Tuesday, November 13

Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta appears to be headed to the state Assembly, with Peralta Community College District trustee Abel Guillen conceding the race. With over 100,000 late absentee ballots counted since the polls closed on Election Day and more provisional ballots tallied Monday, the lead Bonta has held since vote tallying began stood at 70,745 votes, or 51.09 percent, to Guillen's 67,716 votes, or 48.91 percent.

"I entered this race 16 months ago out of concern for our public schools, the safety of our East Bay neighborhoods, and the state of our local economy," Bonta wrote in a statement to supporters e-mailed early Tuesday morning in which he thanked his family and outgoing Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, who he will replace. "I promised our shared community that I would improve the quality of education we provide our children, help prevent rampant gun violence, and work to create more good jobs. That's why I am ready to get to work starting today."

Bonta also thanked the teachers, public safety workers and other public workers whose unions underwrote a substantial portion of his campaign.

"I wouldn't be in this position without them," Bonta wrote.

Guillen thanked his supporters in a late-night e-mail on Monday, in which he called the race "unlike any other." The race and others like it across California pitted a number of Democratic candidates against each other in the wake of new electoral rules that pits top primary finishers against one another, regardless of party affiliation.

"We ran a people powered campaign that inspired hundreds of people to get involved in our cause and their community," Guillen said, repeating a slogan he began using in the final days of his campaign. "I am confident that together we will build upon our shared commitment to making a difference in our East Bay communities."

Bonta tipped his hat to Guillen in his statement "for his public service and his forceful campaign."

"The results indicate voters had two very good choices and while I am grateful for our campaign's success, I am mindful of the issues Trustee Guillen and I agree must be addressed and that we will need to work together," he said.

Bonta announced his candidacy after just a short time on the City Council - a move that angered some who supported his council campaign, from which he emerged as the top vote-getter over a pair of incumbents, earning the title of vice mayor. He and Guillen bested fellow Democrat Joel Young, an AC Transit director, in a June primary after outside groups bombarded voters with mailers detailing news reports that listed allegations of domestic violence and violent threats and said Young fabricated endorsements.

Guillen and Bonta shared a number of positions and endorsements, though Bonta alone won the backing of the state's Democratic Party and Swanson. Bonta raised about $100,000 more than Guillen this year according to records on the Secretary of State's Cal-Access database on Monday night, not counting the $160,000 unions and other groups raised to offer Bonta's campaign independent support.

Bonta served on Alameda's Social Service Human Relations Board, Economic Development Commission and Alameda Health Care District Board before winning a seat on the Council in 2010. Guillen will keep his seat on the Peralta board.

Bonta's victory opens a third seat on the City Council that will go to hospital board member Stewart Chen if he remains in third place in the council contest. Chen is within about 200 votes of former councilman and urban planner Tony Daysog, who has retained his second place standing in the council voting. Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft has maintained a solid first-place finish in the council race, with about 25 percent of the vote to Daysog's 18 percent and Chen's 17.5 percent. The third-place finisher in the race will serve out the final two years of Bonta's term and can run again for the seat when the term expires in 2014.

A Chen council victory means the hospital board will need to find someone to fill out the remainder of his four-year term. Unlike the council, the hospital board holds an interview process to select replacements to fill out unexpired board member terms.

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