Meuser is first to jump into special State Senate election, Bonilla will also run

Mark Meuser from his 2012 campaign.

Mark Meuser from his 2012 campaign.

DeSaulnier’s election to Congress begins possible game of political dominoes

By Allen Payton

With State Senator Mark DeSaulnier’s victory Tuesday night in the Congressional election for District 11, he will now have to vacate his seat in the California Senate. In light of this, Governor Jerry Brown will soon be calling for a special election for California State Senate District 7, which will occur early next year.

Mark Meuser, a local attorney, has announced that he will be running for the open seat in the upcoming special election. He was the Republican nominee who ran and lost to DeSaulnier in the 2012 election. Senate District 7 (SD7) covers most of Contra Costa and Alameda counties, east of the Berkeley hills, and includes all of Antioch.

In addition to the special election in SD7, there will also be special elections held in SD21 and SD37, which are both in southern California, due to those Senators also being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Meuser, whose law firm focuses on civil litigation for both individuals and small businesses, said in a news release on Friday, November 7, “that his priority is to insure that your future, your children’s future, and California’s future is bright. The spirit of entrepreneurs in California is as strong today as it was during the gold rush. It needs an advocate in Sacramento, and Meuser wants to be that advocate. Ensuring that our communities stay strong—and grow stronger—requires a long-term vision for future generations, and Meuser has that vision. It is time to elect a representative to Sacramento who will fight for the citizens of Contra Costa and Alameda counties.”

In addition to Meuser, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, a Democrat, who was just re-elected to her third and final term, said she’s in.

Yes, I will be running for the Senate seat,” she stated in an interview, today. “I had planned to run in 2016 and everything was accelerated due to George Miller’s retirement. We’re just in the beginning stages of developing the campaign.”

Miller decided to not run for reelection to Congress, this year, triggering DeSaulnier’s run for the seat.

When asked why she wanted to be in the State Senate, Bonilla replied “I really love my job and have seen the difference that can be made in Sacramento. I feel I’ve developed a level of experience to serve my constituency affectively and would be honored to continue that service as a State Senator.”

A former teacher, Bonilla served on the Concord City Council and as a member of the County Board of Supervisors before being elected to the State Assembly in 2012.

The process will be triggered by DeSaulnier’s resignation, which is expected before January 5, that day he is scheduled to take the oath of office as a new Congressman.

The governor will then have two weeks to announce the date of the election, which is expected to be in mid- to late-March for the Primary. In a special election a candidate wins if they receive a majority of votes. If not the top two candidates with the most votes in the Primary will face off in the General Election in June.

A state senate district includes roughly 800,000 people, which is larger than a Congressional seat and Senators are elected for four-year terms. With the new term limits, state legislators in California can serve a maximum of 12 years, regardless of whether they serve in the Assembly or State Senate. However, because Bonilla was elected before June 5, 2012 she is restricted by the previous term limits, approved in 1990, which limited legislators to three terms in the State Assembly and two terms in the State Senate. Since the election will be past the half-way point in DeSaulnier’s term, if elected, she will serve less than two years, allowing her two more full terms for a total of close to 10 years. The same would apply to Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, who is termed out this year, and is also rumored to be considering a run for the Senate seat. She did not respond to phone calls for this story.

It’s not just about hanging around for more years, but using the knowledge and influence you gain to really serve the residents of Contra Costa more effectively,” Bonilla said. “If you don’t have experience, you don’t get assigned to be chair of a committee.”

She said she would stay in the Senate the entire time, if elected and re-elected and doesn’t want to be a career politician.

I won’t be using this as a stepping stone to higher office,” she added.

Others whose names have been floated included Republicans District Attorney Mark Peterson, County Supervisors Mary Piepho and Candace Anderson, and Catharine Baker, who was just elected to replace Buchanan in the Assembly in the 16th District on Tuesday night, was also floated as a possible candidate. But, Peterson stated recently he’s not interested in running for the seat.

Anderson’s whose star just rose with her vote against the 33% pay raise the Board of Supervisors gave themselves, two weeks ago, is also out.

No I’m not running for Senate,” she said, today. “There’s a lot of work to be done in the county. I enjoy the breadth of issues I’m working on and am committed to this position.”

Another name put forward was Orinda City Councilman Steve Glazer, a Democrat, who ran for State Assembly, this year, also in the 16th District, but wasn’t one of the top two winners to make it to the General Election.

Piepho, Baker and Glazer also did not respond to attempts to reach them for this story.

If Bonilla is elected to the seat, then a special election would have to be held for the remainder of her two-year term in the Assembly. If Piepho were to be elected, the Governor would be able to appoint her replacement for the time remaining of her term on the Board of Supervisors, which is in 2016, as well.

Voters will soon see if the game of political dominoes continues.

Check back for updates to this story.


the attachments to this post:

Mark Meuser 2012

6 Comments to “Meuser is first to jump into special State Senate election, Bonilla will also run”

  1. John Case says:

    It seems to me that everyone currently in office (and being paid by the taxpayers) is seeking a continuing open tap of money from us. Term limits are currently ineffective in getting people out of government as they can always be elected to another office. We are stuck with the same mediocrity far longer than the current term limits allow.

    • Eric A. says:

      If a taxpayer had a problem with a certain politician I hope they certainly wouldn’t keep voting them into office. We the people hold the power.

  2. joyce says:

    Would be great to have new blood in Sacramento. We need fresh ideas and approaches to solve our challenges of keeping business in California and reducing the tax burden on the middle class.

  3. […] the Antioch Herald reported, Meuser’s campaign will likely focus around economic themes — not just jobs in the […]

  4. […] Local attorney Mark Meuser, the Republican candidate who lost to DeSaulnier by 23 points in 2012, has also jumped into the race, according to the Antioch Herald. […]

  5. Terry Kremin says:

    I have also filed papers – my form 501 (declaring intent) for the general election was mailed Dec 5, and still waiting for information on the special election. They are really dragging their feet on calling a special election.

    I think we need more citizens stepping up and doing their duty and going back to their professions. We have too many career politicians more focused on long political careers and party needs over the needs of California’s residents.


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