By Dave Boyce
Almanac Staff Writer
Political veteran Warren Slocum and Redwood City school board member Shelly Masur were the top two vote-getters Tuesday in the race for the District 4 seat on the five-member San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. They will face each other again in a November runoff election.
An old hand at San Mateo County politics, Redwood City resident Warren Slocum ran well ahead of the field of seven candidates to replace Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson and represent Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Redwood City for the next four years. Mr. Slocum received 29,250 votes or 39 percent of the total, and Ms. Masur received 15,835 votes or 21.1 percent.
Also running in the primary election, in order of their vote totals, were Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith with 14.9 percent; East Palo Alto City Council member Carlos Romero with 8.8 percent; county Board of Education member Memo Morantes with 7.9 percent; Menlo Park City Councilman Andy Cohen with 5 percent; and Redwood City Planning Commissioner Ernie Schmidt with 3.2 percent.
Reelected and running unopposed were Supervisor Dave Pine in District 1, which includes Burlingame, Hillsborough, Millbrae and South San Francisco east of El Camino Real; and Supervisor Adrienne Tissier in District 5, which includes the rest of South San Francisco, Daly City, Brisbane and Colma.
Click here to see the election results for all the candidates.
When no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff election.
Mr. Slocum, 64, retired from county government in 2010 after 24 years as chief elections officer and assessor-county clerk-recorder. A 30-year resident of Redwood City, he and his wife Maria-Diaz-Slocum have two sons. He graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor's degree in U. S. History, he told the Almanac.
Ms. Masur, 47, has a bachelor's degree from Macalester College and a master's degree in public health from Hunter College/City University of New York, she told the Almanac. She is the executive director of Teen Talk, a nonprofit organization devoted to preventing teen pregnancies, according to her online biography.
Of the 337,702 registered voters in the county, about 28 percent participated in the election, although that percentage will rise somewhat when all the ballots are counted.
The five-member Board of Supervisors represents 20 incorporated cities and towns and several unincorporated communities in the county, about 750,000 residents. Supervisors must live in the district they represent, but they run for election county wide.
The services they oversee include public health; the county jail; criminal prosecution; child support; care for the aged and people with disabilities and behavioral problems; protection of the environment and county parks; and housing for residents with financial hardships.
Among the factors considered crucial to winning in a county-wide elections are fundraising, endorsements and name recognition.
Mr. Slocum likely won the name-recognition contest hands down. Anyone who registered to vote or had real property assessed between 1986 and 2010 in San Mateo County would have seen his name as the chief elections officer and assessor.
Ms. Masur consistently led the field in convincing voters to give her money. She raised a total of $96,818 in donations in 2011 and 2012, according to campaign finance reports. She also had an early start; her reports show several contributions in August 2011.
Mr. Slocum raised $20,237 in donations, all of it since early March 2012. He was the last candidate to enter the race, but is not without resources. His campaign war chest includes family loans of $102,683, his reports show.
Ms. Masur, alone among the seven candidates, did not borrow or lend herself money, according to her finance reports.
Ms. Masur is also alone in the extent of support she received from organized labor. While Mr. Slocum was endorsed by one labor council, he put it near the bottom of his list; Ms. Masur put her 10 union endorsements at the top.
Unions can help a candidate obtain name recognition by funding direct mail appeals to voters, a big boost in trying to reach voters in a large metropolitan county. Candidates with union support in San Mateo County also benefit from the county's strong registration in the Democratic party, a stalwart ally of organized labor.
But given the current passion in the public mind in California and around the nation regarding pension reform for government workers, union endorsements may not have the clout they once had for candidates running for public office.
Ms. Masur won support from electrical workers, plumbers and steamfitters, firefighters -- including firefighters in the Menlo Park and Woodside fire protection districts -- and government employees, including those in county government and in the governments of Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Redwood City.
"I am proud to have the support of both labor and business leaders, as well as from Republicans, Democrats and Independents," Ms. Masur told the Almanac in response to a question about union support. With the unconditional support of the San Mateo County Central Labor Council, "I do have support, both as an endorsement and financial from some unions that represent county employees," she said.