BERKELEY -- Elizabeth Echols, of Oakland, took the lead in voting for Assembly District 15 Tuesday night ahead, of Tony Thurmond, of Richmond who will get a second chance to try and beat her in November.
The two received the most votes in a field of eight candidates. Echols got about 13,800 votes while Thurmond received about 10,300.
With all the votes counted, attorney Pamela Price, of Oakland, showed up close behind Thurmond in third place. The only Republican in the race, Rich Kinney, of San Pablo, took fourth.
The district, which stretches from Oakland to Hercules, has no incumbent because Democrat Nancy Skinner is termed out.
Echols said Tuesday night that even though she has never been elected to a public office, voters understood that her background working in the Clinton Administration as executive director of the electronic commerce working group, then as director of the U.S. Green Building Council and later as the western regional director of the Small Business Administration involved writing policy and getting legislation passed.
"Most people do understand that I have worked on policy, and I do have experience in bringing people together to pass legislation," Echols said early Wednesday morning. "I'm really pleased that my message is resonating with voters across the district in both counties."
Echols said her campaign in the primary was about —creating more equal opportunity in education and jobs and protecting our environment." Thurmond was happy to hold steady in second place, a showing that gets him to the general election in November.
"I'm optimistic and grateful to the voters ... ," he said. "This is a testament to the great grass-roots campaign we ran, powered by people who care about making positive changes in the community."
He pledged to "run a campaign powered by people and not by money."
The field of candidates was diverse and included Thurmond, a Democrat; Price, a Democrat; Clarence Hunt, a Democrat from Berkeley; Kinney; Sam Kang, a Democrat from Emeryville; Eugene Ruyle, a Peace and Freedom Party member from Oakland; Echols; and Bernt Wahl, an independent from Berkeley.
Thurmond is a former Richmond City Council member and a former trustee on the West Contra Costa County school board.
Price is an attorney who represents people in federal courts in civil rights cases. Hunt runs a staffing agency and executive search firm.
Kinney, a San Pablo City Council member, is a substitute teacher.
Kang is a lawyer who works for the Greenlining Institute in Berkeley. Ruyle, a retired Cal State Long Beach anthropology professor, ran his second campaign for Assembly District 15.
Contact Doug Oakley at 925-234-1699. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.