Bas vs. Bauters in November D5 Supervisor Matchup

3 mins read

After an excruciatingly slow ballot counting process, we finally have the results of the March 5th Alameda County D5 Supervisor Primary nearly two weeks after election night.

Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas handily led the pack of nine candidates while Emeryville Councilmember John Bauters has secured second place.

Third place finisher Ben Bartlett conceded in an email to his his followers acknowledging that his campaign “fell short.”

Bauters’ initial narrow lead of 206 votes grew with each update and currently stands at nearly 3000 votes.

Bas also built on her first place lead which began at 28% of the vote eventually eclipsing one-third of all votes cast.

These top two vote-getters will now face off in the November General Election. The Bas versus Bauters matchup is anticipated to be an expensive and hard fought contest where the lights will be much brighter and voter turnout much higher (the primary turnout stands at a rather anemic 28% of registered voters).

Bauters declared victory in a March 14 X Post thanking his supporters.

In the other County Supervisor races, District 4 incumbent Nate Miley easily won his challenge. District 1 candidate David G. Haubert and District 2 Supervisor Elisa Márquez were running unopposed.

Will the “Gloves Come Off” During the General Election?

Bas clearly has an edge over Bauters who only carried five districts two of which were his own 13,000 resident city. Bas carried every precinct in her much larger City of Oakland and much of Berkeley.

Precinct map shows Bas winning Most of Oakland and Berkeley.

Bauters did not play “hardball” in the primary and go after Oakland’s current state of disarray or Bas’ perceived compliancy in it for her adversarial relationship with the OPD and support for so-called “defunding” policies (There are disagreements over whether this defunding ever actually occurred). This is likely to change during the general election.

East Bay political analyst Steven Tavares thinks Bauters can emerge victorious … if he’s willing to go on the attack against Bas. ”Bas’ victory was aided, in part, by her opponent’s reluctance to link diminished public safety to her tenure in Oakland. You can bet the same reluctance will not occur in the November runoff,” Tavares noted in his newsletter.

Bauters supporters have already opened an Independent Expenditure Committee titled Bauters for a Safer East Bay that is expected to elevate the issue of Public Safety including attack ads.

Bas also has “ammo” against Bauters and is likely aware of his spearheading of an attempted pause of Emeryville’s, at the time, highest minimum wage in the nation for small, local businesses (a “third rail” subject for some progressives who insist every job should meet a “livable wage” standard).

With Bas being the overwhelming pick of Labor, they are likely to pursue this as an attack angle against him.

A 2019 mailer paid for by labor interests attacked Bauters and allies Dianne Martinez and Scott Donahue for their efforts to slow the pace of minimum wage increases for 20 or so small food-service businesses around town.

Bauters is also on the record of expressing a preference for Women of Color elected officials. It is statements like these that helped him gain support of progressive Emeryville residents.

“We don’t need more white men’s voices holding on to seats forever,” Bauters told Real Estate News website The Real Deal in 2022. “We need to elevate women and people of color to have a chance to have a voice and stake in their community.”

Now it is Bauters himself that stands in the way of “elevating” a Woman of Color candidate.

“We need to elevate women and people of color to have a chance to have a voice and stake in their community.”

Emeryville councilmember John Bauters

Other criteria that could impact the election include the makeup of the recently retooled Alameda County Democratic Central Committee that control the “levers of power” in the endorsement process. An endorsement by outgoing Supervisor Keith Carson could also swing the election.

Will the Real “Progressive” Please Stand up?

Both candidates describe themselves as “progressives” and there seems to be a tug of war over the actual meaning of the word.

Bauters has aligned himself more with YIMBYism that preaches a “trickle-down” approach to making housing more affordable for all. Bas’ “flavor” of progressivism aligns more with Housing Affordability being achieved through strict rent controls, standalone affordable complexes and playing hardball with developers over inclusionary units.

There is also considerable discussion over so-called “reformer” District Attorney’s like Pamela Price and if we need to stay the course … or course correct. Bauters has attempted to play both sides of the issue while Bas is squarely in Price’s corner.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. Wonder why no cameras on the ballot box at city hall? They could have documented the 2,700 mules Bauters used when the lead was narrow.

  2. Bauters is all for Emeryville women of color in office as long as he can hand-pick and groom them to take on the “aggressive” role (i.e. crypto queen Medina) so he can stay civil and act like the only adult in the room. Or, they take on the role of “competent little mouse” and obey all his rulings. He’s not supporting our women rising from the ranks of hardworking local citizens. He’s definitely not supporting progressive men of color on our city council.

  3. This is great news for all of us in Alameda County. Those of us who have seen the passion, thoughtfulness, and sheer ability to get things done of John Bauters in his time in City Hall, understand that he is not a typical politician. Emeryville’s loss can be Alameda County’s gain. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way: https://www.bautersforsupervisor.com/endorsements

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