WatchSonoma Watch

Sonoma mayor Sanders to join supervisorial race

Joanne Sanders


The race to fill the open 1st District Sonoma County supervisor’s seat got a major shake-up Wednesday with the news that Sonoma Mayor Joanne Sanders plans to enter the contest.

Sanders, who founded the Sonoma-based employment agency Bolt Staffing Service, said she likes her chances in the field, which already includes five contenders.

“I just don’t see anyone who has my vision for the county,” she said.

Now in the last year of her second term on the Sonoma council and in her second one-year post as mayor, Sanders, 44, said her concerns about the demise of redevelopment projects and the county’s fiscal problems prompted her decision.

She said “complexity” will require the replacement for retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown to “hit the ground running.”

“The stakes are very high. We’ve got to have someone representing Sonoma who has experience with the issues here,” she said.

Sanders’ move, a month before the March 14 filing deadline, is likely to be a major factor in the race, political observers said.

She becomes the third Sonoma Valley-based candidate, alongside Mark Bramfitt and Gina Cuclis.

Any candidate looking to prevail on support from valley-based voters will have to contend with that fact, said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist.

“You’re slicing and dicing that valley vote pretty thinly,” he said.

Also, Sanders is seen as a pro-business politician — she was a registered Republican before switching to the Democratic party to contend in the 2010 state Senate 2nd District race won by Noreen Evans.

Santa Rosa Councilman John Sawyer, who until now was seen as the most likely candidate for business and agricultural interests, may now face more competition for endorsements and campaign cash, McCuan said.

He said the resulting edge could go to Santa Rosa Councilwoman Susan Gorin, seen as Sawyer’s chief rival for the district’s Santa Rosa-area voters

“I would imagine that she (Sanders) draws support away from Sawyer,” McCuan said. “Gorin could benefit in that regard.”

The other candidate in the race, Keith Rhinehart, is also Santa Rosa-based.

Above all, Sanders’ entry almost “guarantees a runoff if it wasn’t guaranteed before,” McCuan said.

The other five candidates have a headstart on the June primary. Most kicked off their fundraising efforts last month, and some high-profile endorsements have already been handed out.

Sanders also missed participating in the first candidate’s forum in the race Wednesday, though she was in the audience.

But the Sonoma mayor stressed that her seven-year voting record and name recognition should help her catch up.

“I’m perfectly on time,” she said. “I don’t feel disadvantaged by it at all.”

12 Responses to “Sonoma mayor Sanders to join supervisorial race”

  1. #common sense says:

    Finally, A moderate. Attention: to everybody who isn’t going to vote for her because of her party change, this election is non-partisan, meaning that their political party is irrelevant, and that you should just look at THEIR ACTUAL BELIEFS. Which is almost impossible, in this area. There are several people who posted comments already that obviously did not read the article, especially that one post that says that Sanders is not pro business. Well, thats ludicrous, as she owns her own small business. And if anybody actually thinks that pit bulls that maul children arent at fault, and should be allowed to roam freely, they should be checked out. She is a moderate that isnt controlled by special intrest groups like Sawyer and Gorin, and will do what is right for the county.

  2. Truth Teller says:

    I met Joanne Sanders at a One Bay Area meeting in Napa. She was intelligent, listened to the people, was not a kool-aid drinker, and wanted to get to the truth. She was rightly concerned about the impacts that this regional plan would have on her city and on the people and property of the Bay Area. She went out of her way to attend a meeting not in her city but having an impact on all 101 cities in the Bay Area.

    I found her to be calm, clear thinking, approachable and smart. What is the big deal if she switched parties? How much of a difference is there in the gangs at the top? She wants to be in a position to serve the people and you’re not getting anywhere in this area if you’re a Republican. So what if she changed parties? She’s a clean politician and that’s why you have creeps attacking her.

    I’m voting for Joanne Sanders, and I’m glad she’s running. Wake up and kick out the old guard. They are not representing the people. Susan Gorin is a crony. Look at the list of her supporters. It’s a Who’s Who of the yes men and party hacks in Sonoma County. Throw them out.

    Vote Sanders.

  3. Dogs Rule says:

    Local Politics- ignorant comment and it’s too bad you believe all that nonsense about pit bulls. There’s plenty of great dogs with great families and there is nothing you can do about that.

  4. Local Politics says:

    ANYONE but Sawyer and Gorin. And screw the PIT BULL Lovers – we are happy to seen them banned in Sonoma County. If you own a pitt bull you are likely on felony probation and can’t own a gun. If you just own a pitt bull just to own one, they are not “cute” they are NOT family dogs- they are fighters and have no valid reason to be alive other than fight things. I can’t wait for the meth-heads to write back how gentle their PITT is and why they should not ban them. Only the wackos own them- the owners look like they just walked off the set of Jerry Springer fighting.

    I hope this woman wins!

  5. Dogs Rule says:

    She hates pit bulls and if she could, she’d come take your family dog out of your house who never hurt anyone, but who looks like a pit bull – then she’s the mayor for you.

  6. Sandy M says:

    Animal lovers beware…She tried to ban Pit Bulls in the City of Sonoma. Which to me means she loves media attention at the expense of innocent lives who have done absolutely nothing wrong to her. Nor can she be bothered with learning about these breeds. I understand we have one of the most respected Rescues in the Bay Area to understand these breeds, Bad Rap? Most people have heard of this group. They have retrained and rehomed some of the Vick dogs even.

    My point is, here is a woman that is now running for Supervisor, when she reads a newspaper article or watches a TV news report. She shoots from the hip. She can’t control herself and research and learn before making an informed opinion. That makes her just as dysfunctional and corrupt as what have in the Supervisor’s office now.

    Is that what we need more of?

  7. Sam&JanetEvening says:

    Oh please, let Sanders stay in the race. It is bad news for Sawyer because she draws from the same voter base that he seeks and is bad news for Cuclis because she draws off Sonoma city voters. It means the two candidates winning the primary could be Sanders and Gorin. And then we have a rerun of the second and fifth district races.

  8. DINO says:

    “Also, Sanders is seen as a pro-business politician — she was a registered Republican before switching to the Democratic party to contend in the 2010 state Senate 2nd District race won by Noreen Evans.”

    First off, Republicans are anything but “pro-business” – they may be pro corporate interest, but certainly not supportive of businesses generally, especially smaller struggling ones.

    Second, haven’t we already learned our lesson with voting for Republicans in Democratic clothing? How can we trust someone who was a Republican up until 2010 and now wants to be taken seriously as a Democrat. She should be honest – at least Paul Kelly was (not that he was good, or honest generally, but he never changed his party registration in order to trick Democrats into voting for him).

    Fortunately, she will lose this race – and likely help Gorin by splitting votes with Sawyer, as the article speculates. Then she can go back to suggesting important legislation such as banning pit bulls…wasn’t that a winning suggestion she had on the City Council. Also, it’s important to point out that she was only Mayor out of rotation for being on the Council twice – no one votes for Mayor in Sonoma (unlike Petaluma), Council members rotate the position. So what we’re really looking at is a two term council member….which I guess is better than a one term council member running for Congress…

  9. J L Anderson says:

    You mean an actual candidate joined the race who is not a left-wing lunatic? Someone who does NOT want to steal other people’s money to spend on projects that help no one except their own political careers? Someone who does not consider voters merely useful idiots in their grand schemes?

    Is she a, oh no, moderate? Why, we can’t possibly allow that in Sonoma County! What will the puppet masters in SF like Nancy Peloser think?

  10. @Sanders says:

    City Council, State Senate, County Supervisor…. she’ll take whatever position she can get. No, thank you. I want a candidate who wants to be Supervisor to help the County, not someone who just wants to advance their political career.

  11. Money Grubber says:

    I’m curious which is worse for us.

    A ” Tea Party ” person or the ACORN types?

  12. Sonoma Valley Patrician says:

    Great. Now we have the Tea Party nut job candidate.