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Buffy Wicks, incumbent assembly member for District 15, sits outside.

Incumbent Buffy Wicks headed for victory in the District 15 Assembly race

on November 6, 2020

Incumbent candidate Buffy Wicks appears to have easily defeated opponent Sara Brink for the California State Assembly District 15 seat.

Wicks, a Democrat, leads Brink, an independent candidate, by nearly 83 percent of the votes, according to the Contra Costa County semi-final election night results. Brink, according to those results, had about 17 percent of the votes. Wicks expressed optimism through her Twitter account.

“Though votes remain to be counted, I’m proud to share that the people of California’s #AD15 have overwhelmingly re-elected me to represent them in Sacramento,” Wicks wrote in a tweet on Thursday morning. “I’m so honored to earn your vote of confidence once more — and look forward to continuing our work together. Thank you!”

Brink, a filmmaker and activist, did not respond to requests for comment, but said in a campaign statement that the race was never about winning. “I was never going to win this race,” she wrote. “Routing Republicans out of federal office and vulnerable state legislatures is the only thing that does matter in this election cycle.”

Brink did not file any campaign finance reports, according to a recent check of the Secretary of State campaign finance power search website.

Wicks, who was first elected to the state assembly in 2018, served on the Budget, Public Safety, Banking and Finance, Privacy and Consumer Protection, and Rules Committees. Over her two-year term, Wicks has sponsored 49 bills and co-sponsored 300 other bills. 

Wicks’s passed legislation includes requiring BART to report annual greenhouse emissions to the California Energy Commission and establishing a grant program intended to reduce youth crime. 

One of the official ballot boxes located at Richmond’s City Hall. Credit: Mathew Miranda

Wicks wrote on her campaign website that she has “not accepted contributions from corporations,” however, campaign finance records tell a different story.

Wicks raised more than $826,000 for her re-election campaign, according to the California Secretary of State’s election data. Her contributors included Tesla, Airbnb, Disney and AT&T. Wicks also pledged not to take money from charter schools — but records show that she accepted a $1,500 donation from the Charter Schools Public PAC

Other donors included the California Federation of Teachers, the California State Council of Laborers, the California Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West. 

When asked specifically about the contributions, Wicks spokesperson Nick Day did not offer a response by deadline.

Mayors in Richmond, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Hercules, Pinole and Piedmont, some of the cities in District 15, endorsed her campaign. According to her campaign website, she received a range of endorsements from elected officials, press, and organizations including Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, former President Barack Obama, and the San Francisco Chronicle. 

In 2018, tenant right groups and other advocates came out against Wicks in an opinion piece in Berkeleyside. In the article, they wrote that Wicks had not followed through on priorities from her 2018 campaign such as increased housing for low-and middle-income families and boosted funding for public education.

This year, Wicks said in an email she “looks forward to two more years fighting for East Bay families on the issues that matter most, from our housing and homelessness crisis, to keeping our communities safe from gun violence, and the caregiving crisis impacting families across California and the U.S.”

These priorities largely mirror her 2018 campaign platform goals. 

“In my first term, I fought tooth and nail to make meaningful change on the issues that matter most to our East Bay community,” Wicks said in an email Wednesday night. “I’m deeply honored to see the work we’ve done, and the vision we’ve set for the future. I can’t wait to get back to Sacramento to keep up these critical fights.”


(Lead photo: Signage for the polls at Richmond City Hall. Credit: Mathew Miranda)

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