Xavier Abrams, Peter Chau, Antonio Medrano, and Tom Panas

What trig­gered my pre­vi­ous post was the dis­cov­ery that the teach­ers union for West Contra Costa, the United Teachers of Richmond (UTR), has al­ready made an en­dorse­ment (or at least half of one) for the November race. Here’s the time­line as I un­der­stand it:

  • April 27th — Amanda Henderson, out­go­ing pres­i­dent of the UTR, an­nounced that the UTR would in­ter­view po­ten­tial can­di­dates to en­dorse for November.
  • May 3d — The four peo­ple pic­tured above, Xavier Abrams, Peter Chau, Antonio Medrano, and Tom Panas, were in­ter­viewed by a mixed group of the UTR Political Action Committee and the Executive Board.
  • May 25th — The Rep Council, the “leg­is­la­ture” of the UTR, en­dorsed Peter Chau. (He was en­dorsed by them in the last elec­tion, too.)

The for­mal fil­ing for can­di­dacy can’t hap­pen till July 18th and only Antonio Medrano and Tom Panas have of­fi­cial PACs, but we can now look at all four of them as candidates…sort of.

Who Didn’t Show Up

Randalle Enos and Todd Groves

It’s the seats of Randall Enos and Todd Groves (shown above) that are up in the November 2016 elec­tion. Since the in­ter­views were an­nounced at a school board meet­ing, we can as­sume they knew about it, yet nei­ther came. (Randy Enos was en­dorsed by the UTR when he ran in 2012.) For both of them, this is a sign of less like­li­ness to run again. Perhaps there will be two open seats.

Who Else Might Have Shown Up, but Didn’t

Raquel Donoso and Mister Phillips

The top 2014 also-rans, Raquel Donoso and Mister Phillips (pic­tured above), did much bet­ter than Peter Chau in the 2014 elec­tion, com­ing in 5th and 4th re­spec­tively. Raquel was even en­dorsed by the Contra Costa Times. While Raquel may sim­ply have not known about this, a com­pli­cat­ing fac­tor for Mister would have been that he was still run­ning for party cen­tral com­mit­tee at the time. (This was all go­ing on be­fore the June pri­mary elec­tion had even fin­ished.)

Questions about the Process

Why so early?

The UTR lead­er­ship changes on July 1st. Why not wait till then? One pos­si­ble an­swer is that in the UTR elec­tions a sig­nif­i­cant shift oc­curred, and the pre­vi­ous lead­er­ship wanted to move quickly while there was time. Both the new pres­i­dent (Demetrio Gonzalez) and the new vice pres­i­dent (Marissa Glidden) are or were Teach for America teach­ers. Furthermore, Demetrio was a cam­paign man­ager for Valerie Cuevas, a cur­rent school board­mem­ber elected with char­ter school money back­ing.

Why the Hamlet shtick for the en­dorsee?

The Political Action Committee post on the UTR site says “if he de­cides to run” for en­dors­ing Peter Chau. What? One jus­ti­fi­ca­tion (or ra­tio­nal­iza­tion, de­pend­ing on your point of view) for early en­dorse­ments is that se­ri­ous can­di­dates know early on if they’re go­ing to run and get started long be­fore the of­fi­cial fil­ing pe­riod. But, in this case, the UTR has given their early nod to the (prob­a­bly) least com­mit­ted can­di­date. Hmmmm…

UPDATE: June 30, 2016

  • Mister Phillips is run­ning.
  • Xavier Abrams is cur­rently not in­tend­ing to run (source: pri­vate e-mail).
The Actual Opening of the WCCUSD Board Race…Sort Of
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