By Allen Payton
The deadline for candidates for Contra Costa County Supervisor to file papers to run in the June election was at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 11. However, the deadline was extended to Wednesday, March 16 in the race for District 3 Supervisor because the incumbent, Mary Piepho didn’t file for reelection. All six of the candidates expected to run for her seat filed their papers by the deadline.
Andersen Again for Two Terms in District 2
No one filed to run against District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen so she will get a free pass, this election.
Five Candidates in Fifth District by 5 PM, Federal files for Fifth Term, Farias not furious
But, some last minute maneuverings at the County Elections Office occurred on Friday, March 11th in the race for District 5 Supervisor, in which incumbent Federal Glover is seeking a fifth term. This time he will have four opponents, but not five, because one potential candidate who attempted to file at the last minute failed to qualify.
Glover was the first to file his papers, having done so on March 2nd. Martinez resident Conrad Dandridge, listed on the ballot as a Program Analyst, who began the process before any other candidate for the seat back on January 4th, filed his papers that day. Another candidate, Hercules Mayor Dan Romero had also filed his papers before 4:00 p.m.
Then, with less than an hour until the deadline, Martinez Vice Mayor AnaMarie Avila Farias filed her papers to run against Glover. About 10 minutes later, after she walked out of the Elections Office with Vince Wells, President of the county’s Professional Firefighters union Local 1230, former Martinez Mayor Mike Menisini, who had pulled papers on March 1st, walked in with former County Supervisor Tom Powers and political consultant Ray Sloan, and filed to run in the same race.
Then another Hercules resident, nursing administrator Deborah Campbell, a Democrat, who had pulled papers that same day, walked into the office with County School Board Trustee Jeff Belle, a member of the County Republican Central Committee. But, after she filed her papers, it was determined that Campbell did not have the required 20 valid signatures of registered voters in the district on her nomination papers, according to Elections Office staff. Since it was after the 5:00 p.m. filing deadline, she did not qualify for the ballot.
According to witnesses, Mary Jo Rossi, the consultant for both Glover and Concord Councilman Tim Grayson’s campaign for State Assembly, remained in the County Elections Office until 5:25 p.m. with Deborah Campbell, although the office closed at 5:00 p.m. Both Rossi and Campbell walked out of the building at the same time, the only non-county employees still in the office, that long.
According to a witness who chose not to be identified, Farias was “livid and witnessed what appeared to be political games going on” and believes Rossi recruited Menesini and possibly Dandridge, as well, to split the vote in Martinez to hurt Farias and help Glover.
When reached for comment, Farias stated “I wasn’t livid. But there is definitely a political machine at work in the county.”
Referring to Menesini, she said “I was surprised to see one of my former colleagues who lost for reelection in 2014 running for higher office.
“But, I think the more the merrier running for office,” Farias continued. “Because, at the end of the day it’s my constituency and voters who will decide.”
“It keeps you true to your elected office and true to who you are,” she added. “I like options. Don’t you?”
When reached for comment Rossi denied the accusations about recruiting Menesini.
“I have nothing to do with Mike’s candidacy,” she stated.
Menesini could not be reached for comment.
It was also speculated that Campbell was brought there by Belle to meet Rossi, and was recruited to help split the Hercules vote with Romero, which could also benefit Glover.
But, Belle said he didn’t recruit her.
“No. I did not,” he said. “I was simply assisting her with paperwork. I tried talking her out of running.”
Asked if he introduced Campbell to Rossi, Belle replied, “No. I don’t know Mary Jo Rossi.”
“In fact, I was there to consider filing for the Republican Central Committee,” he added. “I did not file…because of my lack of time to the committee. I plan to become an alternate only.”
However, according to the County Elections Office “Unofficial Candidate Report” (3 -11candidates_16jun07_detail) dated 3/11/16 at 5:24:22 PM, Belle had never pulled papers to file for the Contra Costa Republican Central Committee. (See pages 28-30, 921 Rep Central Committee, 3rd District Rep)
Rossi further dispelled the notion of being connected to Campbell.
“I don’t even know Deborah Campbell,” she stated.
When asked why she was at the Elections Office so late and walking out at the same time as Campbell, she responded, “I did not. They are misleading you.”
Asked if Rossi was there at 5:00 p.m. asking for copies of candidate statements (which are public records, but weren’t available to the public until the following Monday), she did not respond.
Firefighters union president Wells was apparently upset about what he witnessed. On his Facebook page, later that evening, he made the following comments:
The “right to vote”; which is a major part of our democracy; includes “the right to run for office if qualified”. The shenanigans that have occurred in the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors race, especially for District 5, are appalling. As a veteran and as a member of a family of veterans and U.S. Citizen, I am personally offended by what I witnessed by representatives of people in elected offices regarding this current election cycle. I have a front row seat. More to come!
Wells did not respond to a request for details of what he saw that motivated his comments.
District 5 stretches from the north side of Antioch, through Pittsburg and Bay Point, along Highway 4, includes Martinez, and stretches all the way to Hercules and the west side of Pinole, in West County.
Six Seek Supervisor in District 3
In the District 3 race for Supervisor the following candidates filed in the following order: NAACP East County Branch President Odessa Lefrancois, who began her campaign last November, was the first to file papers on Wednesday, March 9th. Oakley Councilman Doug Hardcastle, who began his campaign last September and was the first to start the process on January 12th, filed his papers on Thursday, March 10th, the same day as Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, who announced his campaign in December, after Piepho announced she would not be running for reelection.
Both Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson and East Bay Regional Parks District Board Member Diane Burgis, who also entered the race since Piepho’s announcement, filed their papers on Friday, the 10th. But, Burgis said that night, she was one signature short of the 20 required on her nomination papers and would be back this week to complete the process, which she did.
Brentwood Councilman Steve Barr, who was the last to jump into the race, filed his papers on Monday, March 14th. No other candidates pulled or filed papers in the race before the Wednesday, March 16th deadline.
The district includes most of Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron and Knightsen in East County, as well as Blackhawk, Diablo and Camino Tassajara in the San Ramon Valley.
If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in June, the top two candidates for Supervisor in each district will face off in November.