Abel Guillen Enters Oakland’s District 2 City Council Race

Abel Guillen announced on Facebook today that he’s running for the open District 2 seat on the Oakland City Council. Guillen, an elected member of the Peralta Community College Board of Trustees since 2006, is the fifth declared candidate in the November council race.

“I simply love this city. Oakland has played big role in my life, shaping my character and instilling my dedication to community service. Oakland’s challenges are many and varied, but the solutions lie in our neighborhoods, our communities, our schools and the people of our city. I want to make District 2 an example of how we can move Oakland forward, together and build together,” said Guillen in a press release.


Abel Guillen
  • Abel Guillen
Guillen, 38, enters a race that already includes former KPIX-TV news anchor Dana King, Sokham Mao, a member of the city’s Citizens Police Review Board, Andrew Park, and Kevin Blackburn. The seat is being vacated by longtime Councilmember Pat Kernighan, who is not seeking re-election.

In the current field of candidates, Guillen is the only one to hold elected office and may be one of the most battle-tested politicos on the local ballot this fall. Two years ago, Guillen narrowly lost to Rob Bonta in a close, but respectful campaign for the 18th Assembly District. To highlight the lack of acrimony between the two, Bonta is endorsing his former opponent for Oakland City Council. “Abel brings the right combination of professional experience in finance and a proven record of working effectively on the issues that face our Oakland neighborhoods, like educational opportunity, safe neighborhoods and jobs. I’ve seen Abel in action, and he gets things done. I strongly support him for the Oakland City Council,” Bonta said Wednesday in a press release. “At this critical time, the City needs Abel’s skills and extensive experience to stand up for our progressive values. He is the best choice for the job and will move Oakland forward.”

Others offering early support for Guillen include, State Board of Equalization Member and State Controller candidate Betty Yee, former Assemblymember Sandré Swanson, and former Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker.

Guillen’s announcement is not a surprise. He publicly stated he was strongly contemplating a run for the Oakland City Council as early as last January. In fact, Port of Oakland Commissioner Michael Colbruno, also a co-chair for Mayor Jean Quan’s re-election campaign, declared his intention to run for the District 2 seat, but indicated he would only stay in the race if Guillen decided against his own run. Colbruno announced last week he was dropping out. This week, Guillen said he’s in.

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