City Beat

Sacramento City Council races packed, but one incumbent avoids a challenge

Council members Angelique Ashby, above, and Steve Cohn both made public overtures to the medical giant at Monday’s State of Natomas event.
Council members Angelique Ashby, above, and Steve Cohn both made public overtures to the medical giant at Monday’s State of Natomas event.

For the first time in six years, a Sacramento City Council member is running for re-election without an opponent.

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby has earned a second term representing North Natomas after no challengers emerged for the June primary election. Ashby is the newly appointed mayor pro tem and was first elected in 2010.

Her unchallenged return to the City Council is a throwback of sorts for city politics. In 2008, all four incumbent council members ran unopposed. Many other races over the past decade featured either unchallenged incumbents or lopsided results when challengers did emerge.

Ashby said she was planning on running for re-election whether or not she faced opposition.

She said she has projects she wants to help guide to completion over the next four years. Most notably, Ashby is advocating for funding to finish upgrading the levees in North Natomas and working on a plan for the redevelopment of Sleep Train Arena after the Kings move into a new arena downtown.

“I hope that the reason I don’t have an opponent is because people are happy with my leadership and service and they want me to keep going,” she said.

While Ashby will be spared a campaign, it’s a different story in the three other council districts in play. Twelve candidates have qualified to run for those spots.

The most crowded field is in the campaign seeking to represent east Sacramento and South Natomas. That seat – which went through significant changes during redistricting four years ago to include South Natomas – has been represented by Councilman Steve Cohn for 20 years. Cohn is stepping down to run for the state Assembly.

Running to replace Cohn are Ellen Cochrane, a teacher; business owner Deane Dana; real estate broker Efren M. Guttierrez; general contractor Jeff Harris; housing analyst Adam Sartain; Cyril Shah, an American River Flood Control District trustee; and children’s services director Rosalyn Van Buren.

If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in the June primary, the top two candidates will move on to the November general election.

Sacramento political consultant Andrew Acosta, who is running Shah’s campaign, said he wasn’t surprised such a large field has emerged for the seat, given that Cohn is not running for re-election after occupying the seat for two decades. Acosta noted the district covers a diverse range of neighborhoods, from the wealthy Fab 40s of east Sacramento to the working-class areas of South Natomas.

“The people who are running have ties to different parts of the community,” he said.

Councilman Darrell Fong is also leaving City Hall to run for the Assembly, leaving his seat open in the district covering the Pocket, Greenhaven and Valley Hi neighborhoods.

Attorney and former city fire Chief Julius Cherry, nonprofit executive director Rick Jennings and construction worker Abe Snobar are running for the seat.

Councilman Jay Schenirer has a challenger in his re-election bid in parent and labor advocate Ali Cooper. They are campaigning for the District 5 seat representing Curtis Park, Oak Park, Hollywood Park and other neighborhoods in the city’s south-central side.