It will be a totally wide-open DA contest for the first time in recent memory, as 12-year incumbent Nancy O'Malley announced in May that she would not seek re-election and step aside when her current term expires in early 2023.
To help voters in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Sunol (and the rest of Alameda County) get to know the candidates so far, we are co-sponsoring a forum next weekend organized by community group Livermore Indivisible.
The online event -- with Wilson, Wiley and Price all scheduled to participate -- should act as a good primer early on for residents trying to educate themselves about this vital election.
"The idea behind this is to introduce voters to relatively unknown candidates rather informally and encourage support, financially or otherwise, for their choice before the midterm," Livermore Indivisible's Helen Machuga, who will serve as moderator, said of the Nov. 14 forum.
Of course, it's the voter education component that intrigues me and the Weekly about the event (as opposed to drumming up support), but I also understand and accept that the latter is always at play for candidates, often the main motivator for why they take part in public debates.
While Machuga is right that these three candidates are fairly "unknown" to the broader electorate, each appears to be anything but in criminal justice circles in Alameda County.
One of two internal candidates, Wiley has worked for the DA's office for almost as long as I've been alive. Earlier this year he was promoted to chief assistant DA, the first African American person to hold that position in county history -- that months after he was named director of the office's new Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Wilson joined the DA's office 16 years ago, transitioning to a legal career later in adulthood after working years as a union plumber. His past prosecutorial caseload in Alameda County runs the gamut, and no doubt that, along with his life experiences, influence his long list of goals for the department.
Price, a civil rights attorney in private practice, should be a bit more familiar to voters as she ran an unsuccessful bid to unseat O'Malley four years ago. She has doubled down and expanded on her progressive campaign agenda from the 2018 election, now promoting "Pamela's 10-Point Platform" if elected next year.
It's worth acknowledging that this might not be the final candidate list in the end. The nomination period in Alameda County for the June 7 primary doesn't even open until Feb. 14.
Price, Wiley and Wilson are the only prospective candidates to publicly come forward to this point -- and the fact each has registered a campaign committee with state regulators is a clear sign they'll apply for the ballot.
It is refreshing to see such a diverse group of candidates so far. A variety of professional and personal perspectives is key for elections. Any of these three would be the first Black person ever elected as DA in Alameda County. (Heck, O'Malley's ascension in 2009 marked the first time the county's top prosecutor was not a white man.)
Remember that all candidates who qualify will appear on the primary ballot, and unless one wins an outright majority of all participating voters at that time (50% plus one), the top two finishers in June will advance to a runoff election in November.
So Tri-Valley voters, consider educating yourself early and often. Check out the online forum, which starts at 1:30 p.m. next Sunday (Nov. 14). Register at trivalley.rocks/ACDA2022.
If you'd like to suggest a question for the candidates, email moderator Machuga by 5 p.m. this Monday at [email protected]
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