Incumbent Oakland City Council District Two Councilmember Abel Guillen officially filed for re-election in the 2018 Oakland City Council District Two Race about 20 hours ago, according to his Twitter tweet to the time of this post:
It’s official! Joined by supporters, I took the Oath of Office to continue my public service as your Council Member for the city I love — #Oakland! On to November! #OakD2 #publicservice #WorkingForAllOfOakland pic.twitter.com/VUIMrKYjkJ
Meanwhile, Abel Guillen’s challenger Nikki Fortunato Bas, or Nikki Bas, has not posted that she filed her signatures to get on the ballot as an official candidate at this point in time, but she did score an important endorsement: The Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO (which hasn’t used its Twitter account @AlamedaLabor since 2015, which is weird). But Bas’ website reports the AFL-CIO Alameda took a vote 60 to 6 for her and against Abel (and presumably Kenzie Smith, since he too is a candidate).
Bas reports that she has gained the endorsement of “SEIU 1021, the California Nurses Association, BART Director Lateefah Simon, Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza, and dozens of District 2 neighbors and leaders.” Overall, Bas endorsement list would seem to be substantial to the layperson http://www.nikki4oakland.com/endorsements – until you look at Abel Guillen’s endorsement list: http://www.voteabelguillen.com/endorsements Abel has three times the number of elected officials and consituents. And then, there’s Kenzie Smith.
Kenzie Smith, who turned a three-plus-hour racist harassment by Jessica Schulte into his run for the Oakland City Council District Two Seat held by Guillen, launched his webite August 3rd (http://www.kenzie4oakland.com/), and with one major and glaring page omitted: endorsements. There’s no endorsement page on Kenzie Smith’s new website. That can be corrected and within minutes, but for now it sends the message that Smith is new to politics and doesn’t know how to gain endorsements. One can say “Well, he’s trying a different kind of politics,” but then anyone who thinks that doesn’t get what politics the rest of us practice. Getting endorsements is a sign that the candidate can gain help to pass legislation once in office. So, Kenzie may be trying some new type of politics, but it’s not going to play in this election – he needs endorsements.
In my wide-ranging interview with Smith, he said he was in the race to send a positive message to black children of what they can do. If Smith decides to move beyond image and to campaign results, like fund-raising and endorsements, he could upend this race. But that said, Abel has the ability to be able to do his job as Councilmember, and with social media communicate images associated with that work, and those images become part of his run for re-election.
Able does have his critics, and Nikki Bas’s combination of fund-raising and backing (she may be behind him but not hy that much) is making him run like hell, but Guillen’s still the front runner at this point in the Oakland City Council District Two Race. And that’s even true when Oakland-only data from Google Trends is looked at.
In my first go at this for the D2 candidates, Google Trends for the last 30 days has Kenzie Smith way ahead of Abel and Nikki, but that was using all search information, and not only that from within Oakland. In Oakland, Abel rules search trends, Kenzie is second by about one-third of Guillen, and Bas is sitting at zero.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media