Is Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín running for re-election in 2020?

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Daniel Chang/File

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Previously, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín’s campaign account was called “Arreguín for Mayor 2016.” Now, it’s called “Arreguín for Mayor 2020.”

Arreguín is in the process of transitioning from his old campaign account to one that would enable him to raise funds for a potential re-election campaign, according to Noah Finneburgh, who handled Arreguín’s 2016 campaign. The transition coincides with the one-year anniversary of Arreguín’s election to office.

Arreguín ran for mayor in 2016 on platforms of increasing affordable housing units in the city of Berkeley and tackling the city’s widespread homelessness issue.

“I cannot sit back and see what makes Berkeley so special — the people, the businesses — being displaced,” Arreguín previously told The Daily Californian. “We must change, we must grow, but we need to grow in a way that’s equitable.”

Finneburgh clarified that although Arreguín has a new account, he has not formally announced his re-election campaign for 2020.

Laurie Capitelli, who ran against Arreguín for mayor in 2016, said he believes Arreguín’s homelessness initiatives are not “as well thought-out or budgeted” as they should be — a viewpoint shared by former mayoral candidate Ben Gould, who said a “lack of focus” on these initiatives is hurting programs that could work well.

Gould added that he expects Arreguín’s efforts to alleviate homelessness to be his “signature policy” over the next few years.

“I think he’s trying to send a clear message that he does plan to stay in office and run for re-election,” Gould said.

Capitelli said he is unsure of Arreguín’s motivation for transitioning to a new account, but he speculated that it was an effort to eliminate competition early.

“He hasn’t even been in office a year, so I’m a little surprised,” Capitelli said. “We might not think it already, but all of his actions and decisions are now of a candidate who is running three plus years from now.”

But Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett, who was endorsed by Arreguín in September for a seat on the state assembly, said he would support the mayor “no matter what he does, for the rest of his life.”

“His political instincts are so strong,” Bartlett said. “He’s like Mozart, writing symphonies at eight years old. This is something he was born to do.”

Every Berkeley mayor elected since the 1950s has served multiple terms, with the exception of Jeffrey Shattuck Leiter, who filled the position on an interim basis. Tom Bates, who preceded Arreguín, was in office for 14 years. Bates’ predecessor Shirley Dean was in office for eight years.

“(Arreguín) expects to run again,” Finneburgh said.

Contact Anjali Shrivastava at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anjalii_shrivas.

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