Emeryville Councilmember Dianne Martinez denies interest in ‘competitive’ Assembly District 15 Race

1 min read

The race for the 2018 California Assembly District 15 race kicked off last week with the first campaign filing deadline. The seat is being vacated by Incumbent Tony Thurmond who is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Among the names mentioned to be mulling a run are Emeryville Councilmember Dianne Martinez.

East Bay political reporter Steven Tavares’ East Bay Citizen site listed Martinez’ name among a growing list including confirmed candidates Oakland D1 Councilmember Dan Kalb, Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles and EBMUD board president Andy Katz. A list that was made more interesting with the announcement of Obama Campaign Alum and Oakland resident Buffy Wicks. Berkeley school board member Judy Appel and first-term Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett are also listed as possible candidates.

The “deep-blue” district includes Alameda County cities stretching from Piedmont all the way to Hercules in West Contra Costa County.

Martinez squashed the rumors when contacted over email. “I have no plans to put my hat in the ring.” It’s long been rumored that Martinez has aspirations for higher office. Martinez was recently elected to serve on the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee elevating her status in the party.

Martinez’ ambitions are presumed to be a motivator for her initiation and prioritization of the experimental ‘Fair Work Week’ Ordinance. The uniqueness of the ordinance (the first of its kind in California) is getting her quite a bit of mainstream media exposure like this SF Chronicle piece last week. Despite ongoing implementation issues, unexpected costs and the fear of it biting into our declining sales tax revenue, the ordinance officially rolled out on July 1st.

Emeryville is considered a tough city to jump-start a political career because of its small size and limited exposure. “Within the Alameda County Democratic Party, Dianne’s star is definitely rising” noted Tavares who is privy to such things. “I think right now though she would have an uphill battle to win in AD15. In fact, any prospective candidate in a city that neighbors Oakland is at a disadvantage, particularly a small city like Emeryville. At this point, any interest she has in AD15 is likely a trial balloon.”

The first round of campaign funding reporting was due last week and offers an assessment of a campaigns viability and level of competition of the field. Wicks’ entry might give some prospective opponents pause because of her Washington ties and vast fundraising channels.

The Politico.com ‘California Playbook’ section further elaborated on the significance of Wicks’ entry into the race that it referred to as “one of the most competitive legislative races in California.”

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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.

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