by Will Harper
A Green Party spokeswoman boasted in the Chron today that Gayle McLaughlin's apparent election as mayor of Richmond is an important step for the tree-hugger party: "The victory signals for us that we are moving beyond our base, that we can have an impact in minority communities and actually have some pull with working-class people." But Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia, whose district includes Richmond, says that early precinct results don't show that the new Green mayor got lots of support in black precincts. As insiders predicted before the election, McLaughlin benefited from having two African American candidates in the race who split the black vote. Meanwhile, the very Caucasian McLaughlin dominated in more upscale neighborhoods like the Richmond Annex and Pt. Richmond. "Areas that are predominantly white are where her base of support was the strongest," Gioia says. Follow the jump to read more about how race played a role in the city's election.
Gioia also says that McLaughlin benefited from widespread discontent with Mayor Irma Anderson, rather than her party affiliation.
Meanwhile, if the unofficial results hold up, Gioia says that for the first time ever the Richmond City Council will have three Latinos with the election of Myrna Lopez. According to 2000 census results, 26.5 percent of the city is Hispanic.
Also, for the first time in as long as Gioia can remember, the council will only have two African Americans in a city where 36 percent of the residents are black. That will create political pressure on the council to appoint a black resident to fill in the seat being vacated by McLaughlin after she becomes mayor.
Council candidate Corky Booze (pronounced Boo-zay), who is black, thinks he should be appointed to the vacant seat if he doesn't surpass Lopez in the final count (as of now, he's behind by 160 votes). Booze argues that he deserves the slot since he's the next highest vote-getter after Lopez.
That may sound like a reasonable argument, but the last time the council had to appoint someone to a vacant seat it wasn't persuaded by it. Last year council members tapped Tony Thurmond to succeed Mindell Penn, although candidate Andres Soto actually received more votes in the 2004 election.
Back to 92510, the East Bay Express news blog.