At a meeting held Saturday, progressive voters united to endorse candidates for the upcoming mayoral and city elections, and Councilmember Kriss Worthington announced his intent to run for mayor.
The meeting, which was held by the Berkeley Progressive Alliance, Berkeley Citizens Action and Berkeley Tenants Union, was attended by four mayoral candidates seeking the endorsements of the groups, along with several candidates who were running for City Council seats.
Mayoral candidate and homeless community member Guy “Mike” Lee described the meeting as a “three-in-one shot to get three endorsements for the price of one.”
The outcome of the voting was posted on the Berkeley Progressive Alliance website. City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin was endorsed for mayor, Nanci Armstrong-Temple for District 2, Ben Bartlett for District 3, Sophie Hahn for District 5 and Fred Dodsworth for District 6.
Registered members of any of the three groups who had paid their dues were eligible to cast a ballot. Approximately 100 ballots were cast for each position.
Voters were allowed to either cast a ballot for any of the candidates who spoke at the meeting or write in candidates.
“The idea is to ensure unity among the progressive coalition,” Arreguin said.
Worthington, who was seeking mayoral endorsement but has not yet registered for candidacy, asked for the groups to endorse two candidates for each position. Worthington said he is running for mayor in a formal political partnership with Arreguin.
“Certain constituencies are enthusiastic for (Arreguin) and others for me,” Worthington said. “We’re trying to build a coalition to get all the people who are passionate for one or the other to team up.”
The city of Berkeley uses ranked-choice voting for mayoral and council elections that allows voters to rank up to three candidates for each position in order of preference. Worthington added that he is seeking to use the ranked-choice voting to his and Arreguin’s advantage.
The organizers of the event ruled out Worthington’s suggestion, however, saying that they were only allowed to endorse one candidate.
There was a five-minute period for each of the candidates to make speeches, followed by a question-and-answer period for all the candidates. Candidates were asked about prior endorsements, plans for improving housing and views on police and community relations.
A key issue that was discussed at the meeting was the need to prioritize housing for working people and the homeless, Arreguin said.
The organization is now going to work on the endorsed candidates’ campaigns and “get literature out to voters,” according to Arreguin. Arreguin added that the process started early in order to build momentum, get volunteers and spread its message out to voters.
Berkeley will hold elections for the mayoral and City Council seats on Nov. 8.