The only Republican candidate to qualify for the State Senate special election ballot announced Monday that she was dropping out of the race and endorsing Orinda Democrat Steve Glazer for next month's primary election.
"It has become evident that I cannot establish the funding, name recognition and support required to win this election against this field of Democratic candidates within a six-week period," Pleasanton candidate Michaela M. Hertle said in a statement released through her Twitter account late Monday morning.
The announcement from Hertle, an information technology professional seeking elected office for the first time, leaves four candidates -- all Democrats -- actively pursuing the vacant 7th State Senate District seat: Glazer, State Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, former Tri-Valley Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan and Concord resident Terry Kremin.
Hertle's name will remain on the ballot as the deadline to remove it has already passed, according to Contra Costa County election officials.
The special primary election, to fill the unexpired term of now-Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), is scheduled for March 17, with the top two finishers then set to square off in a special election on May 19. The term to be decided expires in 2016.
The 7th District includes Pleasanton, Livermore and Sunol at the south end, Brentwood, Antioch, Pittsburg and Concord to the north, Orinda, Lafayette and Walnut Creek to the west, and the San Ramon Valley.
Hertle was the only resident of the southern part of the district to become a candidate for the special election.
"I entered the race for SD7 because I hoped to inspire a new generation of Republicans to rise up and be heard," she said in part Monday. "I wanted to prove that one person can make a difference. With this said, under the current circumstances, the chance of my winning this race is slim, at best."
In offering her support to Glazer, Hertle wrote, "Mr. Glazer has proven that he can work with Republicans and Democrats alike to find common sense solutions to our state's needs ... I urge my fellow Republicans to vote for Steve Glazer. We have more commonalities with him than differences and he can win this race."
Glazer, an Orinda city councilman who's serving as mayor this year, accepted Hertle's endorsement Monday, saying in a statement, "We both understand that we are Californians first and are committed to putting aside partisan politics for the common good."
"She shares my commitment to bi-partisan problem solving, fiscal responsibility, pension and school reform, and a ban on debilitating BART strikes. Her inspirational leadership is a great example to our leaders in the state capitol," he added.
Glazer is in his second state legislature campaign in less than a year, having run unsuccessfully to succeed Buchanan (D-Alamo) to represent the 16th Assembly District, finishing third in the June primary. Republican Catharine Baker, an attorney from Dublin, went on to win the Assembly seat in November.
Buchanan was termed out of the Assembly last year after serving since 2008. She previously sat on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education for 18 years.
Bonilla (D-Concord), whose 14th Assembly District includes parts of northern Contra Costa County as well as Vallejo and Benicia in Solano County, was first elected to the Assembly in 2010. She previously served on the Concord City Council and the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.
Kremin, the final State Senate candidate, has campaigned unsuccessfully for the Concord City Council three times, including last November.
Sample ballots for the March special primary are set to be mailed out this Thursday, according to election officials. The voter registration deadline is March 2.
The State Senate district consists of all of Buchanan's former 16th Assembly District and a portion of Bonilla's 14th Assembly District as well as parts of the 11th Assembly District (represented by Jim Frazier, D-Oakley) and a sliver of the 20th Assembly District (represented by Bill Quirk, D-Hayward).
The seat has been vacant since DeSaulnier resigned to join the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected by more than a 2:1 margin last November to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) in representing the 11th Congressional District, which includes Danville.