Superintendent of Schools race still too close to call after latest Election update

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Where do the candidates line up?

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In a political campaign, endorsements by well-regarded and influential Individuals and by organizations with influence and resources can be an important boost to a candidate and an early indication of who the political establishment regards as a likely winner.

By that measure, while there clearly are favorites emerging in the seven-candidate race for three seats on the Redwood City Council, there is hardly unanimity among the county’s leaders, or among the current members of the Council.

But as the campaign enters its latter stages, clearly there are some lines being drawn between a group of three candidates – Diane Howard, Giselle Hale and Jason Galisatus – and the remaining four candidates, Rick Hunter, Christina Umhofer, Diana Reddy and Ernie Schmidt.

And those lines appear to be, very broadly stated, the issues of growth and development.

It is important to note that none of the candidates is an avowed supporter of a continuation of the pace of growth that has characterized Redwood City in the past five years. Nor has anyone called for a complete reversal of the development that has occurred.

But the interests that are involved in the campaign – on either side — clearly see one group of candidates as preferable to the other.

Vice Mayor and incumbent Howard and businesswoman/mother Giselle Hale have been endorsed by the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and the county Central Labor Council, whose political process is heavily influenced by the Building Trades Council. In addition, Howard has been endorsed by the California Apartment Association and Hale directly by the Building Trades Council. Galisatus shares many of the same individual endorsements, as well as the Central Labor Council.

Among the remaining four candidates, three – Hunter, Umhofer and Reddy – were endorsed yesterday by the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club.

In addition, those three and Schmidt clearly are operating their campaigns in support of one another, sharing endorsements, exchanging campaign donations and on September 22, holding a campaign event together.

While all four have insisted they are not running as a slate, it is clear they share campaign supporters and support each other.

It is equally clear that much of the political establishment in the county – although certainly not all – is leaning toward Howard, Hale and Galisatus.

The candidates with the most endorsements are incumbent Howard and Hale, each of whom has compiled a long list of prominent political leaders.

Howard and Hale both have been endorsed by the area’s two members of Congress – Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, each of whom shows up in political polling as the endorsements most likely to affect voters’ choices.

Howard and Hale also share endorsements from state Senator Jerry Hill, Assemblymen Kevin Mullin and Marc Berman, current Council members Shelly Masur and John Seybert and San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley.

The two candidates also have been endorsed by organizations that usually bring campaign support – SAMCAR, the Labor Council, the Redwood City Firefighters Association (RCFA) and the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC), a long-established and effective organization dedicated to electing candidates in support of key LGBTQ rights issues.

Close behind Hale and Howard is university community relations rep Jason Galisatus, also endorsed by Mullin and Berman, as well as Assemblyman Evan Low and state Senator Scott Wiener, BAYMEC and the RCFA, the Labor Council and Masur and Seybert.

A WORD OF CAUTION: It’s a local race, of course, which means there are alliances and endorsements that defy analysis and, undoubtedly, are based on personal connections and prior common experience.

Speier endorsed four candidates in the race for three seats – Howard, Hale, Hunter and Reddy. Hill also endorsed businessman Schmidt, who endorsed Umhofer and Howard.

Current council members spread their endorsements around: Alicia Aguirre endorsed Galisatus, Schmidt and Howard; Mayor Ian Bain endorsed Howard and Hunter; Janet Borgens endorsed Umhofer, Howard and Schmidt.

The Board of Supervisors are equally spread out among the council candidates. Supervisor Horsley also endorsed Hunter; David Canepa endorsed Hale, Galisatus and Schmidt; Warren Slocum endorsed Schmidt and Howard; Dave Pine and Carole Groom endorsed Howard, the only candidate to win the support of four of the five supes.

Service Employees International Union Local 521, which represents a large bloc of Redwood City employees, endorsed Reddy, Howard and Schmidt.

Other endorsements of note: Howard is endorsed by the Harbor Village Mobile Home Park; Reddy is endorsed by the San Mateo County Democratic Party and Silicon Valley and Peninsula chapters of the Democratic Socialists, the self-described progressives of the Democratic Party.

MORE MOHR: There are many local figures who are widely and well regarded. Few engender the genuine affection and respect that accrues to Tom Mohr, the San Mateo County Community College District trustee seeking re-election and being challenged by fellow trustee Richard Holober.

At a recent campaign kickoff, a lineup of electeds from throughout the county was on hand in a cross-section of support rarely seen:  Jackie Speier (sporting a cast on her right leg), Kevin Mullin, Dave Pine, Foster City Mayor Sam Hindi, Shelly Masur, Belmont Councilman Charles Stone, Burlingame Councilwoman Emily Beach, San Mateo Councilman Rick Bonilla, San Carlos Mayor Bob Grassilli, East Palo Alto Councilman Larry Moody and fellow college trustee Maurice Goodman.

Contact Mark Simon at