Catharine Baker, Tim Sbranti advance in costly Bay Area Assembly race

Transit strikes, such as two last year by Bay Area Rapid Transit employees, were an issue in the race for the 16th Assembly District. Above, a BART station in Oakland.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

In a hotly contested race for a Bay Area Assembly seat, Catharine Baker, a Republican, and Democrat Tim Sbranti were the top vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary, according to election results.

The contest for the 16th Assembly District attracted a deluge of outside money, with business groups lining up behind another Democrat, Steve Glazer, an Orinda City Council member and former aide to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Interests including the California Realtors Assn. and the California Chamber of Commerce, for which Glazer once worked as a consultant, spent nearly $2 million to boost his bid.

Labor unions backed Sbranti, mayor of Dublin, an East Bay suburb. A committee primarily funded by the California Teachers Assn. and an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union poured almost $1.8 million into the race on Sbranti’s behalf.

Democrats have a registration edge in the district with 40% of voters, while 32% are registered Republicans and 22% expressed no party preference.