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  City Council Election Results
November 3, 2004

I would like to thank those who supported my re-election with your donations, your volunteer services, your endorsements and of course, your votes. As you may recall, I have been unsure for some time whether the voters would react to Richmond’s financial disaster by throwing us all out, as the West County Times advised, or trust that some or all of us incumbents would be part of the solution.


As fate would have it, there was a little of both.


I would also like to thank all you readers of the E-FORUM for the constant flow of information and opinions you provide that keeps me in touch with the community as well as what is going on inside City Hall. Please keep it up.


The final results are shown below:


City of Richmond
Member, City Council

Vote For: 5

Completed Precincts: 57 of 57



Vote Count


*Tom Butt



John E. Marquez



Gayle McLaughlin



*Mindell Penn



*Nathaniel "Nat" Bates



Andres Soto



*Gary L. Bell



Deborah Preston Stewart



Tony K. Thurmond



Kathy "Storm" Scharff



Eddrick J. Osborne



Courtland Corky Booze



Arnie Kasendorf



Bill Idzerda



Herman Blackwell




One aspect of the election that I find fascinating is looking at the success rate of various organizations who made endorsements and whose endorsements were cited by candidates in their campaigns.


  • The best call goes to the Sierra Club and the East Bay League of Conservation Voters, which endorsed only three candidates (Butt, McLaughlin and Soto) and saw two elected, for a whopping 67% success rate.


  • The worst call goes to the West County Times, which endorsed five candidates (Thurmond, Osborne, Kasendorf, Soto and Boozé), none of whom were elected for a 0% hit rate.


  • Just behind the Times in the loser column was the Contra Costa Central Labor Council with a 25% rate on four candidates: Soto, Osborne, Marquez and Thurmond. They had previously endorsed me, but withdrew my name after I supported a sewer maintenance contract for Veolia Water.


  • Closely following at the low end was RichPac, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee, which saw only one of its three (Penn, Bell and Osborne) “pro-business” candidates elected, for a 33% success rate, and the Council of Industries, with the most candidates endorsed (Penn, Bell, Scharff, Booze, Bates, Kasendorf and Osborne) and doing only slightly better at 29%.


  • A couple of organizations hit 40%, including ChevronTexaco (Penn, Bell, Osborne, Marquez and Kasendorf), SEIU Local 790 with Soto, McLaughlin, Osborne, Marquez and Thurmond, and Contra Costa Construction and Building Trades Council with Soto, Osborne, Marquez, Thurmond and Butt.


  • Miller, Hancock and Gioia got it half right (50%) with Butt, Soto, Penn, Bell, Osborne and Marquez.


  • On the high end of the winners ticket, second only to the Sierra Club was the BAPAC (Black Americans Political Action Committee) at 60% with Butt, Penn, Bell, Osborne and Marquez. However, I am still not quite sure who the firefighters and police endorsed because of the plethora of mailers from these organizations both together and separately. The Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA) told me they were endorsing Butt, Bates, Scharff and Marquez, which would have given them a high 67% and a tie with the Sierra Club.


I may have missed some organizations or confused some endorsements, and if so, I would appreciate being corrected.


An endorsement can mean a lot of different things. Coming from labor, it means union members will be urged to support endorsed candidates, and it may mean some money and volunteers. Respected politicians and non-profit organizations are rarely sources of big dollars, but they may convince voters that their endorsees are the right people. Business and industry probably influence few voters, but they usually offer campaign dollars. Getting an endorsement from Chevron is like three cherries on a slot machine as a hundred thousand dollars or more gets your name on several slick mailers. Similarly, the public safety unions are well-heeled soft money spenders, but their negative campaign pieces, sometimes with murky messages, turn some voters off and confuse others.