Why Democrat Steve Glazer lost bid for Assembly (AD-16)

Harry Truman once said: “Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.”

What President Truman said applies to Democrat Steve Glazer, a member of the Orinda City Council, who, in the June 3 primary, ran for a seat in the California State Assembly. Glazer ran in the 16th Assembly District (AS-16). A top adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, Glazer attracted plenty of money, but still was not successful.

Steve-Glazer-Gov-BrownAD-16 includes Orinda, Moraga, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, and Livermore. The district has many high-income residents and sometimes tilts in a Republican direction. Candace Andersen, who represents much of the same area as the AD-16 is a Republican and a member of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors. (Candidates for supervisor do not run as members of political parties. Andersen, for her supervisorial seat, ran on her name, not her party affiliation.)

In his Assembly bid, Glazer was basically a one-issue candidate, an office-seeker who campaigned on banning strikes by transportation workers at BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). In 2013, BART workers went on strike twice — in July and in October.

Democrat Glazer positioned himself as a fiscal conservative and as pro-business candidate who had the support of the California Chamber of Commerce.

CAR backs Glazer with calls to agenciesGlazer’s main campaign problem was that there was already a Republican candidate running. She is Catharine Baker, and she received the highest number of votes in the primary.

During his campaign, Glazer was consistently labeled a “wayward” Democrat.

Gloria Romero, former Democratic state senator from Los Angeles and now a columnist for the Orange County Register, criticized Glazer. On April 7, 2014, Romero wrote, ” . . . the American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees union — focused on preserving pensions for its public sector members — contributed $50,000 of its members’ dues to defeat Mayor Steve Glazer of Orinda in Contra Costa County, in his bid for the Assembly’s 16th District.”

Members of the Orinda City Council take turns as mayor.

In her column, Romero said: “This $50,000 contribution boosts to $435,000 the coffers of the Californians for Economic Prosperity, led by teachers unions, service employees and other labor groups.”

In the primary, Baker received 36 percent of the vote. Tim Sbranti, mayor of Dublin and a school teacher, came in second with 30 percent. Glazer received 22 percent. In November, the two top vote-getters, Baker and Sbranti, will face each other to determine who will serve in the Assembly. Glazer is out of the running.

During the campaign, both Glazer and Sbranti each received financial support exceeding $1 million. Much of Sbranti’s support came from teachers’ groups. Glazer has support from real estate interests.

Glazer is well known in Orinda for supporting real estate projects. He voted for the construction of a senior citizens’ housing project now being built in downtown Orinda. The project has raised objections from substantial numbers of Orindans. The project will have 67 units and about 30 parking spaces. Parking in downtown Orinda is hard to find during the day.

To many Orindans, Glazer is a mystery. In conversations with over 50 Orinda voters, this reporter could not find one Orindan who knows what Glazer does to earn a living.

Glazer is an aloof personality. While he is recognized for his political fund-raising skills, he lacks the political magnetism of a politician needs.

Glazer’s term on the Orinda City Council expires in late 2016. He is slated to become mayor in late 2014.

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