WatchSonoma Watch

Tom Chambers drops from supervisor race

Healdsburg city councilman Tom Chambers has bowed out of the supervisors race. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat, file 2013)

Healdsburg city councilman Tom Chambers has bowed out of the supervisor race. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat, file 2013)


Less than two months after declaring his candidacy for Sonoma County supervisor, Healdsburg City Councilman Tom Chambers has bowed out of the race.

Chambers on Tuesday said he was unable to gain enough momentum after a late start in the campaign for the North County seat and is throwing his support to James Gore.

“He and I were going after the same folks — a little more moderate to conservative, a little more free market,” Chambers said. “I needed a little more horsepower to catch up.”

Chambers’ departure leaves four candidates vying for the $134,000-a-year job in the June primary — longtime Windsor Councilwoman Deb Fudge; Gore, a former assistant chief in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service; former Healdsburg Councilman Pete Foppiano; and Keith Rhinehart, a former UPS supervisor and part-time teacher.

They are running for the seat currently occupied by 4th District Supervisor Mike McGuire, who is not seeking re-election, but instead is running for the state Senate seat being vacated by Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa.

The sprawling 4th Supervisorial District extends to the Mendocino County line and includes parts of north Santa Rosa, along with all of Wikiup-Larkfield, Windsor, Healdsburg and Cloverdale.

Political analysts say it is unlikely any of the supervisorial candidates will get a majority of the vote in June, setting up a run-off between the two top vote getters in November.

Even without Chambers’ endorsement, Gore would have benefitted with the Healdsburg councilman’s departure, they said. “People who would support Chambers will support Gore,” said Petaluma political consultant Brian Sobel.

“Nominally, Chambers dropping out helps boost Gore in the short-term,“ said David McCuan, a Sonoma State political scientist who closely follows supervisorial elections.

They said the two candidates both appealed to business and agricultural interests.

Fudge, who has run twice before for supervisor, is endorsed by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. She is expected to do well in the primary with the backing of progressive groups and voters.

“Her name recognition is so good,” McCuan said, but said “her negatives are baked in. She has to push past those and draw some people beyond the left in, to the center or middle.”

Chambers announced his candidacy in mid-December, about a month after the other candidates. The third-term councilman touted his background in government and his management experience in the manufacturing and high-tech sectors as preparing him for the job of supervisor.

Although he raised $32,000, he said he was at a disadvantage going forward trying to raise the $150,000 to $200,000 he was told he would need to mount a successful campaign.

“I was not ready to throw a Hail Mary pass,” Chambers said.

He described Gore as “an aggressive campaigner who’s done a nice job of getting out in front.”

Gore said Tuesday that he welcomes Chambers endorsement, describing him as “a widely respected leader, not only in Healdsburg but the North County.”

Chambers said he will give the money he raised back to his contributors.

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark.mason@pressdemocrat.com.


8 Responses to “Tom Chambers drops from supervisor race”

  1. Foppiano all the way.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  2. Elephant says:

    Thomas D – No chance of your last request being granted, especially in regards to a BoS race. Like many before him, Mr. Foppiano will not get a fair shake.

    Fudge is a part of the status quo that runs Sonoma County that the PD has enabled for decades. As such, she will get the lions share of any “news” on this race. Her meager accomplishments will be embellished and her screw-ups forgotten. Meanwhile, whoever appears as her primary competition in this race will get the opposite treatment with their qualifications and achievements dismissed and any mis-step molehills made into mountains. This is the modus operandi of the status quo.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 11

  3. Eastside Road says:

    Thomas D.,

    You’re right, Pete Foppiano is #2 in fundraising…for now. You’re right about the lack of coverage of Pete. Let’s take a look at his financial statement you reference:

    He has 3, that’s right, 3 individual donors. The others are BIG donations from large companies. Foppiano even received $2,000 from the company he owns and took almost $10,000 in non-monetary contributions from a few big donors to pad his final fundraising figures.

    What this report clearly shows is ZERO grassroots support for Foppiano, something Fudge AND Gore have worked hard to build. Foppiano will finish at the back of the pack – a few big-moneyed interests won’t take him over the finish line.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  4. Papa ESoCo says:

    Too bad, he seemed like a really good prospect. Oh well, looking like “anybody but Fudge” is down Gore/Foppiano. Better either one than Deb.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 6

  5. Thomas D says:

    It’s a shame that the Press Democrat does mention Pete Foppiano in any significant way in this article. While Chamber’s endorsement may help Gore, I don’t understand how you can pen this article without mentioning the benefits this will have to Pete’s campaign. As you reported last week, Foppiano is leading the pack in the most important category, fundraising. Also, Pete has a long track record of service in the district, with real accomplishments to point to. Clearly, Pete will benefit by virtue of being the only Healdsburg candidate in the race, and one with a good amount of public accomplishments – but you fail to even consider those pints. Gore on the other hand, has literally no track record to draw from, he just recently moved into the district from Washington DC, where he lived for years and wound up in third place in fundraising, pretty far behind Fudge and Foppiano. So why all the air time for Gore? Can we start to see some balanced reporting from the PD in this race???

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 9

  6. Steveguy says:

    It is a shame that the office must be bought, instead of best person for the job.

    Deb Fudge is being bought by the Plan Bay Area types. That should scare north county folks.

    After Tom’s withdrawal, I wish we could vote ” none of the above”. Anybody but Fudge, so I will hold my nose and against her. Like voting for a coyote instead of a wolf. Black bear versus grizzly, etc.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 8

  7. steve humphrey says:

    What a shame. Tom would have been an excellent supervisor.

    Perhaps he just couldn’t stomach being a part of the current board.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  8. Eastside Road says:

    It’s a shame Chambers dropped out, but I trust his guidance and will support Gore. Foppiano and Fudge are failed repeats – we need a breath of fresh air at the county.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

Leave a Reply