Andy Katz Prepares To Get Out the Vote For District 8 Runoff

Rong-Gong Lin, II, is a staff writer and Kim-Mai Cutler is a contributing writer for The Daily Californian.

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In an election featuring two heavily backed student candidates, both failed to win outright in yesterday's election.

Andy Katz, a UC Berkeley graduate student supported by the city's progressive faction, came in a close second to former Berkeley lab employee Gordon Wozniak, who was supported by moderate homeowners in the District 8 race.

With no candidate winning more than 45 percent of the vote, the Southeast Berkeley/Elmwood district will face a runoff election on Dec. 3.

Moderate-backed UC Berkeley sophomore Micki Weinberg made a respectable showing in the Southside's District 7, garnering 40 percent of the vote in a race where the incumbent, progressive stalwart Kriss Worthington, was heavily favored to win.

At one point in last night's count Weinberg even pulled ahead of Worthington by two percentage points, surprising many political observers.

District 8 voters will participate in an all mail-in runoff election, receiving ballots from the city clerk's office by Nov. 22. Voters will have to mail in or drop off their ballots at the city clerk's by Dec. 3.

Runoff elections generally have lower turnout, which could negatively affect Katz's bid for a council seat.

Lower turnout generally favors more conservative candidates such as Wozniak. The runoff period also comes during Thanksgiving and the final week of classes at UC Berkeley.

"We need to advise voters to watch their mail and look out for the ballot and to not treat it like junk mail," Katz said. "It's going to take a strong

get-out-the-vote drive."

Wozniak could not be reached for comment last night.

Both student candidates said they felt successful promoting student issues in this campaign. Katz centered his campaign on his experience working with the city to support building more affordable housing for students, mass transit programs for students, such as the Class Pass, and increasing safety.

Katz sat on the city's powerful Zoning Adjustments Board.

Weinberg, backed by Mayor Shirley Dean and the city's moderate faction, focused his campaign on incumbent Worthington.

Weinberg repeatedly said Worthington "paid lip service" to students but voted against some housing projects and backed off when it came to supporting the creation of a student-majority council district.

But both student candidates failed to get out enough of a student vote or attract a strong enough coalition to beat either Worthington or Wozniak. The last and only UC Berkeley student to win a council seat was graduate student Nancy Skinner, who first won as a progressive in 1984.

"I bet if students had a higher turnout, success would be much more likely," Weinberg said.

While students make up one quarter of Berkeley's residents, they are divided among several districts.

Students make up the largest proportion of voters in District 7, composing a slim majority.

Worthington bolstered his student-friendly credentials in this district by appointing numerous students to city commissions and has been known as extremely accessible to student. But he alienated some student government officials last year when he opposed plans to carve out a student-majority City Council district on Southside.

ASUC leaders-including President Jesse Gabriel and Executive Vice President for External Affairs Jimmy Bryant-endorsed Weinberg.

Bryant credited a successful ASUC-led voter drive for Katz's large support.

"We have a voice, and we will let them know," Bryant said.


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