Monday, November 10, 2014

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BART strike elects Republican in East Bay

KQED photo

Assembly victory in East Bay a gift to the GOP
by John Wildermuth
SF Chronicle
Nov. 10, 2014

Republican attorney Catharine Baker’s surprise victory over Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti for an East Bay Assembly seat was an unexpected gift for the GOP, a foothold in the Democrats-only bastion of the Bay Area...

Underlying the campaign were last year’s BART strikes and Sbranti’s support of the transit district’s unions. It was a major issue during the primary, with Democratic Orinda City Councilman Steve Glazer calling for a statewide ban on transit strikes.

Glazer didn’t officially endorse Baker after losing the primary, but he did appear in a picture with the Republican on one of her mailers, saying that “Baker would ban future BART strikes and Sbranti would not.”

Unhappiness about the BART strikes “was through the roof among independent voters,” Matheson said, in a district stretching from Livermore to Lafayette where thousands of people ride the system.

It was such a major issue that it could have swung the election to the Democrats if Glazer had finished ahead of Sbranti in the primary, he added.

Baker could hit Sbranti as a typical union guy, linked to partisan Democrats, the GOP consultant said. Glazer, however, “was a bit of an independent, a maverick. With Steve Glazer in the race, it would have been a completely different scenario.”

While Democrats hold a 39 percent to 32 percent registration edge over Republicans in the district, that leaves 29 percent of the voters who don’t identify with a major party.

“We heavily focused on that,” Matheson said. “We put out ground teams who only talked to people outside traditional party lines"...