On a Rough Night for Progressives, Two Black Women Poised to Win the Bay:  Alameda’s Pamela Price Hopeful, Becton Declares Victory

Pamela Price at a press conference back in September 2021

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Oakland, CA – The headline on Tuesday night no doubt was the ouster of DA Chesa Boudin in San Francisco.  But just below that is the possibility that Bay Area counties across the Bay will elect two progressive Black women to DA.

In Alameda, Pamela Price currently sits in first with 38 percent of the vote.  The next closest, Terry Wiley is second at 31 percent and you have to go to 20 percent for the first place finisher.  But don’t tell Price she is most likely headed to a runoff in November.

While that is worst case scenario, Price said on Wednesday she is hopeful to win it outright now.

“That’s wrong,” she said in response to the Vanguard’ question that she is almost assured of going to a runoff at this point.  “We have less than 50 percent of our votes (that) have been counted.”

She added, “So we still have lots and lots and lots of votes to count. And as long as I maintain my distance from these guys, I could get to 50. I expect I’m going to get to 50% plus one, if not 51, maybe even 61.”

Critical to her calculation are areas that have not counted a single vote yet, “big precincts and precincts that I believe are favorable to us.”

On a day when things went poorly in most counties for progressives running for DA, Pamela Price was one of the very few bright spots.

For Price a big difference is that she ran in 2018.

“As I look around, I see even with Chesa, he had not had enough time to build a solid coalition or to really get people behind him,” Price pointed out.  “Whereas, and certain with Alana (Mathews in Sacramento) as a first-time candidate, I’m looking at people as the difference being, we plow the field, in 2018.  That created the momentum for 2022, and there’s name recognition.  And once you’ve been on the ballot and people vote for you, they will vote for you again.”

When Price spoke to the voters this time, “they understood that Alameda County had been trapped in a timewarp.  They were very appalled to know that we had not had an open seat since 1939. And that I was the first person to run since 1966. They just heard, they could hear that this is not a democratic process.”

That’s an incredible fact—until 2018, there had not been a contested DA’s election since 1966.  And there had not been an open seat like this one since 1939.

Price said “that’s what I noticed that people were more receptive to and, and being shocked at the fact that this seat had just been passed down all these years over and over again, people said, oh, that’s not good. That’s not good.”

Diana Becton, Contra Costa DA speaking at Hastings in February 2020

Becton Declares Victory in Contra Costa

When we spoke with Diana Becton on Tuesday night, she held about a 58-41 lead over Mary Knox, and she was optimistic but not ready to declare victory.  By Wednesday evening, her campaign declared victory with a still substantial 56-44 lead.

“Contra Costa voters have spoken,” said District Attorney Becton. “They want a justice system that works for everyone. People showed up for this campaign through canvassing, at farmer’s markets, making phone calls, texting—and at the polls. I thank the people of Contra Costa County for believing that our justice system can keep us safe, and be more just and equitable. I also thank Mary Knox for her years of service in our county.”

District Attorney Becton took office in 2017 as the first woman and first African-American District Attorney in the county’s 167-year history with overwhelming countywide and community support. DA Becton is the only African-American District Attorney in California.

Since taking office, DA Becton has kept her promise to make real and lasting change, transforming the District Attorney’s Office into one that works for everyone in Contra Costa County and delivering justice for victims.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, District Attorney Becton has taken a smart-on-crime approach, prioritizing the most serious cases and focusing resources on violent crime.

Under her leadership, the District Attorney’s Office also has developed and enhanced diversion programs, encouraged treatment for those who suffer from mental illness and drug addiction, and launched new efforts to reduce racial disparities in the system.

“Feeling safe in our homes and our communities is what we all deserve,” said DA Becton. “That is why we will continue to focus on serious and violent crime, with supporting victims as our number one priority. We also know that we need to reimagine our system to make it work for everyone, not just the few.

“The status quo has decimated entire communities, separated families, and relegated generations of Black and Brown communities as second class citizens. That is why we will continue working to reduce racial disparities in our systems. We also must continue to hold anyone who harms our communities accountable—even if they are in elected office or wear a badge—because that is what real safety demands.”

District Attorney Becton was endorsed by nearly 75 state, county and local elected and community leaders, dozens of organizations and the East Bay Times, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County.

“I am committed to working with every community, and with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners, to continue to make Contra Costa County safer and our system more fair for everyone,” said DA Becton.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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