As Elk Grove-area politicos await Cooper's decision, chatter increases on City Council District 4 race

Several individuals contemplating their candidacy in 2022 are awaiting a decision by California Assemblymember Jim Cooper on what he will do next year.

Cooper, the former Elk Grove City Councilmember and current 9th District Assembly representative since 2014, has expressed interest in once again running for Sacramento County Sheriff. Cooper, who retired from the sheriff's department as a captain in 2014 following a 30-year career, ran and lost to current Sheriff Scott Jones in 2010. 

When Cooper announced he was exploring a run for sheriff earlier this year, two Elk Grove elected officials had unofficially expressed interest in jumping into the race. Two of the possible candidates, Elk Grove City Council Members Stephanie Nguyen and Darren Suen, would only enter the Assembly primary race only if fellow Democrat Cooper were to run for Sheriff.

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Another candidate, Republican Eric Rigard of Lodi, has declared his candidacy for the 9th Assembly seat. Rigard finished in the second position in the March 2020 primary but lost by a large margin to Cooper during the general election. 

Depending on how 9th Assembly boundaries follow redistricting for the 2022 elections, if Rigard is the only Republican on the ballot, he would have a good chance of advancing again to the general election. Given the 9th Assembly will probably retain more Democratic voters for 2022, the Democratic candidate in the top two would have a distinct advantage in the general election.

Suen is halfway through his four-year term representing Elk Grove City Council District 1, while Nguyen's term is up in 2022. While Nguyen, who represents Elk Grove City Council District 4, and others await Cooper's decision, she has formed her city council reelection committee for next year's election.

As Suen and Nguyen await Cooper, chatter is increasing about two other Democratic candidates who may vie for the District 4 seat regardless of Nguyen's ultimate candidacy. Among names popping up as possible District 4 candidates are former Elk Grove, Mayor Gary Davis.

Earlier this year, Davis entered the race to replace long-serving Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli. After Elk Grove City Councilmember Pat Hume entered the race and received support from the same donor class Davis was reportedly trying to tap, Davis dissolved his supervisorial campaign committee.

Additionally, earlier this year, Davis sold his District 1 home in the Stonelake subdivision and relocated to District 4. While residing in District 1, Davis was part of a public relations team that assisted California Northstate University in their unsuccessful bid to build a $1 billion teaching hospital in the Stonelake neighborhood. 

Davis and others on the CNU public relations team were released by the school. As the public outreach person for CNU, Davis infuriated many of his Stonelake neighbors with derogatory social media posts. 

The other Democratic candidate eyeing the District 4 seat is former Elk Grove planning commissioner, Mackenzie Weiser. Last February, Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen re-nominated Weiser for the planning commission, but it was not seconded by any of the four city council members, including Nguyen, and she was not reappointed.

Weiser told EGN, like other 2022 possible candidates, she is awaiting Cooper's decision. She said that if Cooper runs for Assembly again, she would pass this election cycle but also noted other Elk Grove-based elected officials are strongly urging her to run in 2022 for District 4.  

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