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).