Rich Gordon wins Democratic Assembly primary


San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon has defeated Josh Becker and Yoriko Kishimoto in the Democratic primary Tuesday and appears poised to succeed Ira Ruskin in the 21st Assembly District.

According to the Secretary of State's tally as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Gordon had claimed 37.9 percent of the votes, compared with 33.8 percent for Becker and 28.3 percent from Kishimoto.

Gordon took an early lead in Tuesday's Democratic primary on the strength of mailed-in ballots and expanded his edge as more results came in.

The district includes northern Santa Clara County and southern San Mateo County, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto and Redwood City.

At about 10 p.m., with his victory all but certain, Gordon gave an emotional speech to a crowd of cheering supporters at the Lucie Stern Community Center in Palo Alto in which he acknowledged his early anxieties about the race. Gordon trailed Becker in cash raised for most of the campaign, but finished with his strongest fundraising month, while picking up key endorsements from local officials, unions and newspapers along the way.

"When I started the race, I only knew what I wanted to accomplish," Gordon told his supporters. "But I had no clue, candidly, if I'll find people who would come with me.

"What has transpired has been amazing," he added, before hugging his husband, Dennis McShane, to a burst of applause.

Despite a wave of momentum in the final month of the campaign, Gordon's victory had been far from certain. Becker, a former Congressional aide, united a wide group of entrepreneurs, technologists and business executives behind his enthusiastic campaign, which focused largely on creation of clean-tech jobs.

But while Becker's campaign raised the most cash and made the most use of social media and technology, in the end old-fashioned name recognition won the election, he said. Gordon had spent 12 years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, while Kishimoto served on the Palo Alto City Council for eight years, including a stint as mayor in 2007, before terming out last year.

"One of the biggest challenges of the race was running against two politicians with high name IDs," Becker said. "It's a big district and you can't meet everyone.

"We felt the more people learned about us, the more they said they would vote for us," he said.

On Tuesday, Becker's campaign headquarters on El Camino Real in Palo Alto was filled with supporters, including his parents, who flew in from Pennsylvania to walk precincts and man phones in the last days of the race. He thanked everyone in attendance for their hard work.

Becker said he now plans to focus on his eight nonprofits and to work on behalf of clean-tech legislation, particularly Assembly Bill 32.

Kishimoto took her loss with equanimity and said she was proud of her "grassroots campaign." Despite being outspent by her two opponents, Kishimoto kept the race close, largely through the support of Palo Alto's neighborhood leaders and conservationists.

On Tuesday, as Gordon's victory appeared increasingly likely, she reflected on her accomplishments.

"I've spent most of my time talking to voters, visiting farmers markets and visiting families," Kishimoto said. "I'm very proud of what my campaign has done."

But it was Gordon who ultimately drew the broadest coalition from the widest geographic area. His campaign party included elected officials from across the Peninsula, including Palo Alto council members Yiaway Yeh and Gail Price, East Palo Alto Councilman Ruben Abrica and Burlingame Councilwoman Terry Nagel.

Gordon's victory means he will now be a heavy favorite in the November race against Republican Greg Conlon in the largely Democratic district. Ruskin, whom both men hope to succeed, will be termed out at the end of the year.

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Like this comment
Posted by ranch Gal
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm

that's too bad. Career politician gets shuffled to another higher place in government. Why couldn't the lemmings have elected someone NOT in politics as a career. Haven't we learned anything?

Like this comment
Posted by Same Way
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I feel the same way ranch Gal, I have also seen Rich, in a public forum, dress down people like he's some sort of elected king. He's actually quite embarrassing. I would have liked to have seen a change here, new, fresh ideas from someone like Becker would have been nice.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Fresh ideas are important, as is a commitment to creating green jobs, but even more important in my book is having the experience that might -- that's "might" -- be helpful in navigating a Sacramento legislature that has not proved itself very flexible lately.

From what I have heard, the logistics of being a legislator are very, very hard work. The legislators themselves don't talk about it because who would? Complaining it's too hard is just not on.

So, experience in government would seem to count for a lot in a situation where compromise is so needed and so unlikely, especially because of term limits. The legislator finally figures out how things work and it's time to go. A running start is a good thing.

Like this comment
Posted by ranch Gal
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 9, 2010 at 1:49 pm

JOE from Menlo Park. Just GO to a Board of Stupidvisors meeting sometime before you talk about "experience". Yes I want an "experienced fire fighter if my home is burning, or an "experienced policeman" if I am in trouble but frankly "Experienced Politicians" especially guys like Rich Gordon have NO incentive to actually DO anything but get "re-elected. Never owned a business, got their hands soiled working, just holding "meetings" back slapping each other and making back room deals. Politics as Usual. Fresh eyes = a clean house. Experienced Politicians = same old business as usual. Ho Hum....

Like this comment
Posted by Alice
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm

We have seen and heard about good things Rich Gordon has done. Many of us in the Southern part of his district feel that he will be a very good Assemblyman. We wish him well.
(Los Gatos)

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 9, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Ranch Gal - I have been to supervisors' meetings. My memory has these five people listening to each other and the public (which can be trying if the person is angry or not used to self expression), debating respectfully, deliberating in public and making decisions for which they are held responsible.

All this is a lot of work. If you don't believe me, try it. Try listening intelligently to people you may or may not agree with. Try holding your temper while discussing a topic in which you don't have a personal interest but are required to decide in the best interests of the electorate. Try being adept with the language such that you can make your thoughts clear and relevant and brief and persuasive.

State law prohibits back-room deal making, and like people in general, these supervisors appear to have consciences.

Such experience is not chopped liver.

And I'd really like to know how owning or running a business -- for example a barber shop or a hardware store -- is relevant to government work? These enterprises no doubt have their challenges, but what do they have to do with governing work as I have described it above?

Like this comment
Posted by Disillusioned Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 9, 2010 at 10:50 pm

This guy can't even find a way to make kids walking to school or waiting for the bus safe from speeders -- he gave parents the choice between a new white line painted in the road or nothing. And yet people believe his campaign promise to help California's public schools when he's in Sacramento. Really? Can't wait to hear how a can of white paint will fix that problem. Rich Gordon will fit right in with all the other ineffective politicians because he's already proven his willingness to do nothing.

Like this comment
Posted by Hard working Tax Payer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 10, 2010 at 7:26 am

The mere fact that Rich Gordon was endorsed by the Unions is enough reason not to vote for him. Josh Becker's fresh ideas and a record of actually accomlishing something was reason to vote for him. But let's face it until people are willing to free California from its enslavement by the unions it will be business as usual.

Right now Menlo Park has two City Councilmen up for re-election Richard Cline and Heyward Robinson who went into a closed door meeting with the SEIU with public observance specifically proscribed and a few months later voted for an excessive retirement plan that will eventually bankrupt Menlo Park.

Richard Cline and Heyward Robinson represent the interests of ASFME, the SEIU, and the San Mateo County Labor Council. This coming November if the residents want to wrest control of the City from the Unions, they would be best advised to vote for anyone who does not have the Union endorsement.

Like this comment
Posted by Johnson
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Rich Gordon is a great guy and deserves everyone's vote. He also supported adding sidewalks and traffic lights at busy intersections and undeveloped streets in unincorporated Menlo Park over the objections of some big established NIMBY property owners and in favor of the general population and the many school kids who can now walk the area much more safely.

Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

How much would he be salaried if he won? Not much deal making like one can do in a Supervisor's seat.
Richard, the ribbon cutter and friend to the unions is going to have a tough time if he is counting on their support alone.
I don't think Richard Gordon is a great guy at all, Johnson. I will tell you why, if you will tell me.

Like this comment
Posted by DThomas
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2010 at 6:14 am

[Post removed; same poster using multiple names on this thread]

Like this comment
Posted by R.Gordon
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2010 at 10:31 am

I am pleased you FINALLY added the above message since so many "voices" on issues are identical with different names.

Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Just a thought -- if we complain so much about how bad our elected officials are doing in Sacramento, isn't it time to elect a completely different type of person. We seem to keep sending the same type of people back, and we don't seem to be able to climb out of the hole wer're in. We desperately need leaders, officials who aren't afraid to make tough decisions and get California back on track.

Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 11, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I was once told that anyone who has ever been elected to the position of "Dog Catcher" has envisioned themselves on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, left hand on the Bible taking the oath of office on a chilly January morning with "Hail to the Chief" echoing in the background.

A big part of the problem is the electoral cycle of moving from city council to county supervisor to state assembly to state senate and maybe even the House of Representatives. It is clear that Mr. Gordon is following in the footsteps of Joe Simitian and Jackie Speier.

These people should realize that there's a lot more to life than following this well worn, predictable path.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2010 at 1:33 am

Too bad the winner in the primary isn't required to win over 50% of the vote. No 50%+ then a run-off. In which case Gordon would have lost as Becker wold have likely picked up a large majority of Kishimoto's supporters. So instead we end up with a candidate who definitely did please very many voters.

Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

This announcement of his victory has run a very long time. What is the reason behind that?
I know the ALMANAC backs him for Assemblyman, but from the posts, he is not all that popular with others besides myself.
I most certainly agree with James, POGO and Bob.
People really walk away from the fact that this is the 21st Century and that we are knee deep into bad local government and most of all, its elected officials.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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