Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said today that her victory last night, along with that of City Attorney Barbara Parker, proved that city residents were not happy with the intensely negative campaigns run by Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Jane Brunner. "The divisive and deceptive campaigns lost — and they lost by a big margin," she said. Indeed, they did. Kaplan beat De La Fuente, who attacked her relentlessly during the campaign with hit-piece mailers, by more than 20 percentage points. And Parker whipped Brunner by a staggering 35 points after Brunner had attacked Parker almost non-stop for the last few months.
Both De La Fuente and Brunner have long been known for carrying grudges, and several City Hall insiders have said over the past week that they expected De La Fuente and Brunner — if they had won — to exact revenge against people and organizations that did not endorse them or had supported Kaplan and Parker.
The only councilmember to endorse De La Fuente and Brunner was Desley Brooks. Although Brooks has clashed for years with many of her council colleagues, she'll now be in the minority on the panel with De La Fuente and Brunner gone.
Also, council President Larry Reid, who won leadership of the council with the backing of De La Fuente and Brooks, is unlikely to maintain that position after the swearing-in ceremony of new councilmembers this January. With the three new councilmembers coming on board, expect the council presidency to go to Pat Kernighan, Libby Schaaf, or Kaplan, who often vote together on issues.
And in the years to come, it'll be interesting to see whether any local candidates decide to hire the architect of the negative De La Fuente and Brunner campaigns — longtime Oakland political operative Larry Tramutola.