Aimee Allison Advances to Run-Off

Excellent news for the Oakland Greens as city council candidate Aimee Allison scored a 37% showing in Wednesday’s election and has now forced a run-off with incumbent Pat Kernighan. We profiled Ms. Allison back on April 5th and noted that her previous showing in an Oakland City Council race was 14% in an 8-way contest, so this is quite an improvement!

Considering her extremely impressive bio and the support she’s getting from labor, a victory in the Fall would make her by-far one of the most attractive rising stars that the Greens have.


She did not want to believe it, but incumbent Patricia Kernighan had to face facts.
Despite finishing first in Tuesday’s District 2 Oakland City Council race, she must once again muster the strength in herself and her troops, this time for a November runoff against second-place challenger Aimee Allison.

The runoff will mark the third time in two years Kernighan and business consultant Allison have campaigned against each other. On Tuesday, Kernighan got 47 percent of the vote to Allison’s 37 percent.

Next time, the outcome could depend on which candidate is better able to woo the 15-plus percent of residents in Grand Lake, Chinatown or Eastlake who cast votes Tuesday for Shirley Gee.

Kernighan has name recognition, a track record in city government and aligns her vote with City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. Allison, the Green Party candidate, has the backing of several influential labor groups and the promise of change in machine politics.

The victor will not necessarily tip the balance of power on the City Council. De La Fuente could still command a majority, no matter who wins. But a nod to Allison, especially if Ron Dellums wins the mayor’s seat, could signal the beginnings of a progressive shift at City Hall.

“It’s a whole new ball game with Dellums,” Allison said. “It’s a new dynamic, and I think District 2 is key. We look at that as a swing vote to make more progressive policies.”

Dellums did not endorse any candidate for City Council, but Allison believes that could change if the former congressman avoids a November runoff and wins the mayor’s race outright.

“I was one of the folks who actively lobbied Dellums to run, and I actively campaigned for him and he and I are closely aligned,” she said. “I will be meeting with him.”

Kernighan was clearly disappointed she did not win outright. She believes many of her supporters assumed she would do so and did not campaign on her behalf. She also said she needs to get out and knock on many more doors because she has loans outstanding, and raising money at this late juncture will be a challenge. Victory in November could come down to who mounts the best grassroots campaign, she said.

“It’s sobering,” she said. “I would much rather put 120 percent of my energies into doing the job I was elected to do. I do love it and I care about the constituents. But I’m absolutely confident I’m going to win (in November).”

Kernighan said she has a broad base of support in the Chinese and Vietnamese communities, and expects that most of the people who voted for Gee would align themselves behind her. Still, she realizes there is a segment of the district that will not vote for the status quo.

Kernighan also thinks a runoff in the mayor’s race could affect her campaign, mainly because her potential volunteers could be tied up working for mayoral candidates.

“If labor puts a lot of effort into Aimee’s campaign, that will obviously make it harder for me,” Kernighan said. “But this last time the support for Aimee came from the Green Party, from outside Oakland. ... She had a ton of people on the street, but they were not from District 2. They were from all over the Bay Area.

“The thing I’m most proud of is all my volunteers come from District 2,” she said. “I’ve got the hometown crowd. Hers were outsiders based on some ideology.”

If that sounds as though Kernighan is willing to make or take a few jabs, she insisted she intends to run a “positive campaign,” but would not avoid the truth.

“I will spend more energy drawing the distinction between my experience and track record and local support, and (Allison’s) lack of participation in local issues in the past and her support coming from outside the district.”

Sharon Cornu, executive secretary treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council AFL-CIO, said labor endorsed Allison because of her support for a living wage and justice for port workers, among other issues. She said Allison is a tenacious campaigner who “lights up a room.”

“She got a very warm reception throughout the district,” Cornu said. “There’s a changing dynamic and … Aimee was clearly the choice of many people. I think her support came from her working very hard … and her going door to door. She has a very strong base and she retooled her campaign from last year.”

Allison said she is gaining ground in votes, volunteers and contributions with each election, largely through a door-to-door campaign. She definitely thinks labor will play a role in November’s election.

“We gained 700 votes from last year to this year, and we’re growing,” she said. “The phone is ringing off the hook with people apologizing for not voting.”

Councilmember Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland) endorsed Kernighan and said he is surprised she was forced into a runoff.

“She’s going to have to work a little harder to beat Aimee Allison,” Reid said.

Allison also will benefit from the strength of a Dellums candidacy, and progressive voters who want to shift the council left, he said.

Voters in City Council District 6 were more decisive, with 53 percent sticking with incumbent Desley Brooks, who handily defeated challenger Marcie Hodge (35 percent) and Nancy S. Sidebotham (12 percent). Brooks may ruffle feathers at City Hall, but many voters felt she delivered for her constituents.

Reid said he is disappointed that Hodge did not come closer to forcing a runoff or defeating Brooks outright.

“Marcie spent too much time making Desley look bad rather than talking about what she would bring to the table,” Reid said.

2 Responses to “Aimee Allison Advances to Run-Off”

  1. Dennis Says:

    It’s great to see the Progressive Issues that the Green Party is
    promoting finally is beginning to grab back the voters attention from the 6
    years of “same old politics” from the identical DNC-GOP parties!

  2. Cowboy Will Says:

    Hotness. If I vote for her, do I get a kiss? I’m a baby. Waah…wahh.

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