With Jones confirming he will not seek reelection, a Cooper Sac County Sheriff candidacy could set off a political cascade

California Assemblymember Jim Cooper - a possible Sacramento County Sheriff candidate? | 

Yesterday Scott Jones confirmed what had already been stated - he will not seek a fourth term as Sacramento County Sheriff. In a social media post, Jones, who has been at the center of various controversies, also confirmed he was throwing his full support behind Chief Deputy Jim Barnes.

While Jones' announcement was unsurprising, could it be the event that prompts California Assemblymember and former Sacramento County Sheriff Captain Jim Cooper to force his hand on his political future? 

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Cooper, who lost to Jones in a hard-fought battle for the position in 2010, retired from the sheriff's department when elected in 2014 as the Democratic representative for the 9th Assembly District, which includes Elk Grove. Cooper has expressed enough interest in seeking the office to open a sheriff's campaign committee while maintaining the one for his Assembly seat. 

Separately, before Jones' announcement, a high-placed Sacramento County elected official earlier this week confirmed that Cooper will be running for sheriff. 

With Cooper's decision to run for sheriff or not in the lurch, others are awaiting his announcement and have their political futures stuck in something close to a holding pattern. If Cooper decides to seek the sheriff's office in the June primary, he will be giving up his Assembly seat, which is expected to attract several local politicians to seek that office.

In Elk Grove, political allies City Councilmembers Stephanie Nguyen and Darren Suen are interested in entering the Assembly primary. Should Nguyen enter the race and make it out of the June primary, it would open up the District 4 seat.

Among names floated as candidates for the District 4 seat are former Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Mackenzie Weiser and former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis. Weiser has expressed interest in running for the seat if Nguyen was not in the race, and Davis, who entered and left the District 5 seat race for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors this year, has moved from District 1 to District 4 earlier this year. 

Although Suen is reportedly being pressured not to run for the seat if Nguyen enters the race, he is halfway through his term. The only implication for District 1 would be if Suen enters the race and wins in the November general election, he would have to vacate his seat, thus creating a city council vacancy. 

Of course, other aspiring Democratic politicians like Sacramento City Councilmember Mai Vang, who represents a southern district within the current boundaries of the Assembly District, could jump into the race. Like Suen, Vang would not have to relinquish her seat if she did not make it to the general election. 

With the clock clicking down to the June primary, Cooper will undoubtedly have to decide soon for fundraising efforts for him and other possible Assembly and city council candidates. If Cooper runs for sheriff, there will be a political cascade in Elk Grove unlike anything in several years. 

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Randy Bekker said...

Political musical chairs makes for good stories an great reading as none or all could happen.

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

With his large campaign war chest, Mr. Cooper has several options to choose from. Mostly, he could spread some of that cash around to other candidates and become a Sacramento political boss. Of course for that to happen, he would need to run for and win the sheriff's position, which history has shown him, is not a slam dunk so there could be some hesitancy - stay in the Assembly where he has a safe seat, or roll the dice for the one that got away.

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