Houston, being termed out of his seat in the Assembly, originally intended to run for Congress but was stopped short when Republican Party leaders chose to back another candidate. Houston then turned his focus to the supervisor job.
Meanwhile, Democrat Thomas was after Houston's seat in the Assembly, but he dropped out as it became clear that contender Joan Buchanan held a strong lead in the democratic primary.
County supervisor is a nonpartisan position. In this spirit, State Sen. Tom Torlakson (D., 7th) has endorsed Piepho, a Republican. Houston has been endorsed by fellow Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Piepho began the year with $83,918 in campaign funds; Houston with $156,278.
As of March 17, when the candidates last reported financial information to the Contra Costa Elections Department, Houston had received $5,160 in contributions in 2008; Piepho had received $11,859. The two campaigns spent close to the same amount from Jan. 1 through March 17, roughly $20,000.
Thomas did not disclose financial information to the county since his campaign hadn't raised the required minimum of $1,000 by the cutoff. The candidates will report figures again at the end of May.
Whoever ends up in the supervisor seat next year will inherit the county's $3 billion retiree healthcare liability - a problem Piepho points out she inherited when she took office in 2005.
She says that over the last four years she's kept her promises to control the budget while also making roads safer and less congested, protecting open spaces and supporting public safety.
Piepho held a rally last Friday at the Veteran's Hall in Danville to reach absentee ballot voters. Danville Councilwoman Karen Stepper, Bob Pack of the Pack Foundation and other local leaders joined her to show their support.
"I will continue to put the public's interest first - to deliver results," Piepho pledged at the event.
Houston is spreading a similar message; in his campaign statement he promises to put the average citizen first. He cites public safety as a top priority and pledges to practice fiscal responsibility.
Having served as mayor of Dublin for six years, he points to that city's record for fiscal thrift as proof that he could take on the county's economic problems.
Thomas, a progressive Democrat and Danville electrician, notes he is a trouble shooter and fixes things for a living. Although the position is non-partisan he said party matters in terms of philosophy and ideals.
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