Ron Dellums’ decision to not seek reelection raises the question of whether he will endorse any other candidate in the Oakland mayor’s race. Although Dellums’ popularity in the city declined during his mayoral tenure, he still has strong support in Oakland’s black and progressive communities. Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan told the Tribune that she plans to meet with Dellums next week and hopes to win his endorsement for her mayoral bid.
Dellums, however, has a history of not endorsing other candidates for office. In 2006, he declined to support any other candidates during his run for mayor — except for his longtime friend and former aide Sandre Swanson, who at the time was running for his first term in the state Assembly. Assemblyman Swanson now supports Councilwoman Jean Quan for mayor and is the co-chair of her campaign.
Meanwhile, longtime Dellums supporter and friend Geoffrey Pete of the Oakland Black Caucus has already endorsed Kaplan. But it remains unclear who other black city leaders, including Paul Cobb, publisher of the Oakland Post and longtime Dellums' backer, will support in the mayor’s race. As for ex-state Senator Don Perata, he appears unlikely to receive backing from Dellums' closest supporters, but sources say he nonetheless is actively seeking the endorsement of several prominent black ministers in the city.