Republican candidate Catharine Baker held on to an early lead ahead of three democratic challengers in a telling race for control of the 16th Assembly District – fertile political ground bounded in the west by Orinda and Walnut Creek and extending southward into the Tri-Valley.
With all precincts counted, Baker led a field of four candidates with 36.5 percent of votes cast, comfortably ahead of closest challenger and Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, who claimed 29.6 percent of the votes. Orinda vice mayor Steve Glazer held onto third position with 22.5 percent of votes cast and Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich claimed 11.4 percent.
The results seemed to uphold the expressed sentiments of an electorate weary of a bitter slug-fest waged between candidates Glazer and Sbranti, whose respective camps have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars assailing one another in a race funded by organized labor, real estate and big business interests.
Baker, an attorney and the only Republican in the Field of Four, was able to remain largely above the fray as Glazer and Sbranti slugged it out, a position supporters say has served her well.
Election observers were treated to a seesawing battle for the No. 2 position through the night as candidates Glazer and Sbranti slipped in and out of the spot as precincts reported.