East Bay DSA member becomes the latest winner in socialist election wave
Oakland, Calif.—East Bay Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is celebrating the primary victory of DSA member and Richmond City Council Member and Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles, who will advance to the run-off election for California Assembly District 15 (AD15) in November. With some ballots still remaining to be counted, Beckles has clinched the second place slot over Oakland City Council Member, Dan Kalb, who conceded this afternoon.
Without financial or political backing from corporate interests, the Beckles campaign relied instead on support from DSA, Our Revolution, and Richmond Progressive Alliance. Based on her record of passing the first rent control law in California in decades as well as "Ban the Box," and leading the way in forcing Chevron into compliance with environmental and worker safety standards, Beckles has organic support from the working people of the East Bay. She is strongly committed to repealing Costa Hawkins and implementing rent control and affordable housing, passing single-payer healthcare, and funding education by closing corporate tax loopholes.
DSA organized 250 volunteers who knocked more than 8,000 doors in competitive AD15 neighborhoods, made 2,500 voter turnout calls and canvassed thousands of voters in public locations ahead of the primary. DSA directly turned out 750 supporters and influenced thousands more to vote for Beckles, who has been declared the winner with a narrow 300 vote lead over Kalb. This electoral success builds on recent DSA-backed political victories, including 18 DSA members elected in 12 states last November, four DSA-backed Pennsylvania state House candidates who won their primaries in May, and the June 5 success of San Francisco's DSA chapter in campaigning for Proposition F, guaranteeing right to counsel for tenants facing eviction.
Beckles will face Buffy Wicks in November. Wicks is a corporate-funded, Democratic Party careerist: a former Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign director and newcomer to AD15 with no experience as an elected official. Far out-spending all her opponents in the most expensive primary race in the district's history, Wicks raised more than four times as much as Beckles to fund a massive primary operation, demonstrating the power that corporate elites and the Democratic Party establishment can wield in our political system. The Govern for California PAC, which was founded and is funded by Walmart Chair Greg Penner, tech investor Ron Conway, and David Crane, former advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger, alone poured half a million dollars into campaigning for Wicks.
Zach McDonald, co-chair of East Bay DSA, issued the following statement:
"Going into November, DSA calls on working people and progressive organizations like the Richmond Progressive Alliance, labor unions, tenants rights organizations and environmental activists to build the movement that can stand up for working class interests. DSA sees a clear choice between a candidate for and by working people on the one hand, and Buffy Wicks, who is for and by corporate donors and the Democratic Party establishment. When Jovanka is elected to the legislature, democratic socialists, unions, and progressive activists will continue to fight alongside her against corporate greed to carry on Bernie Sanders's political revolution and grow the movement that can transform our society into one that puts people over profits."