Contra Costa County’s 680 corridor and Alameda County’s Tri-Valley region are once again hosts to the most hotly contested race for state legislature.

In 2014, my talented friend Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, beat Mayor Sbranti – 51.6% to 48.4%. She defied the odds in a Bay Area district where voter registration shows Democrats outnumbering Republicans, 39% to 32%, with Decline-to-State voters at 22%.

Previous to the general election runoff, Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer (a candidate in the Special Election) waged a spirited, independent primary campaign, coming in 3rd behind Baker and Sbranti.

At the time, few looked through their crystal ball and saw Glazer entering the State Senate Special Election just a few months later. Assemblywomen Joan Buchanan and Susan Bonilla were already cued up to run.

But on the last day of filing, Glazer entered the race, winning the March primary by 8.8%. He was the top vote getter, garnering 33.7% of the vote.

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla came in 2nd with 24.9%, knocking former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan out of the race. Though Buchanan was a popular, termed-out officeholder, Glazer won the Republican vote and enough Independents and Democrats to make him formidable for the run-off.

So here we are – 5 days from the run-off Special Election.

001Voters in Assembly District 16 (where Glazer previously ran) comprise 60% of the district.

Voters in Assembly District 14 (where Bonilla is the sitting Assembly member) comprise about 20%.

The other 20% (represented by neither Bonilla nor Glazer) is in Assembly District 11.

Though Democrat registered voters outnumber Republicans 43% to 28%, mail ballots currently show a larger than expected turnout among Republicans.

These voters think Glazer will be easier to work with and more business-friendly than Bonilla. Glazer’s activism against BART strikes supports the region’s economy and resonates with workers and families. He also has the support of small business’ most important advocacy organization.

This morning’s story stating that BART workers violated a code of conduct by conducting anti-Glazer campaign activities on BART property will catch voters’ attention.

Last week, Harry Sachs, Vice Mayor of San Ramon, hosted a “meet the candidate” reception on behalf of Glazer. There was a mish mash of Republicans and Democrats – some admittedly on the fringe of their respective parties. I saw Glazer field questions from jobs to environment to pensions to the mood in Sacramento. He didn’t please everyone with every answer, but he showed thoughtfulness, independence and the ability to listen.

The latest attack from Bonilla’s campaign on the Independent Women’s Forum and their sister organization, the Independent Women’s Voice as “a Koch Brothers front group” is just silly.

I worked in Washington and I know IWF, some of its staff and founders. IWF was formed way before anyone knew the names of the Koch Brothers.

002Last year, $10 million was spent to influence sophisticated voters in Assembly District 16. The Senate District 7 Special Election is estimated to cost the same.

So that’s $20 million of mail and TV dumped on voters’ doorsteps over the last 9 months. It’s no wonder they’re a bit testy.

In the end, Glazer will benefit from his previous attempt in last June’s primary and the recent release of his 10 Governing Principles. People will pay more attention to what’s on each candidate’s website rather than sorting through the deluge of mail that’s making its way to the recycling bin more often than the kitchen table.

Judy Lloyd is a Member of the NFIB/California Leadership Council. NFIB/CA endorsed Steve Glazer earlier this month. Judy owns her own small business, Altamont Strategies of Danville.