Even the though the 2014 election season in Oakland is over a year away that doesn’t preclude potential candidates from starting early. Not only is attracting local community support important, but more importantly, those who wait too long risk losing out on hiring the cream of the crop when it comes to political strategists.

It’s why San Leandro Councilmember Ursula Reed dove head first into running for Alameda County superintendent of schools next year. Reed’s hired the services of Doug Linney, possibly the best political consultant in the East Bay.

It’s also why the number of challengers for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s is quickly rising.

This week, Port of Oakland Commissioner Bryan Parker launched an exploratory campaign for mayor. Parker, who incidentally, was appointed by Quan to the Port last summer, unveiled a splashy, well-done introductory YouTube video.

Parker is vice president for a leading kidney dialysis company who may attempt to tailor his message to the city’s growing demographic of young professionals with money to burn. However, there is already chatter among Alameda County Democrats the treasonous nature of running against Quan is fostering distrust over his motives.

Others reportedly showing interest, include another Port of Oakland President Gilda Gonzales, a former chief of staff under former Mayor Jerry Brown and activist Joe Tuman, who finished fourth in 2010.

The other possible challenger is Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby. Although the Oakland City Council led by Councilmember Pat Kernighan withdrew scheduled discussions of Ruby’s controversial 14 alleged violations of the city charter by Councilmembers Desley Brooks and Larry Reid, the issue of wrongdoing still exists.

Regardless of, if or when, the issue returns to the council, Ruby is undoubtedly positioning herself as the candidates of those who feel corruption in Oakland has run amok.

One high-profile name you won’t see running for mayor in 2014, according to Democratic insiders, is Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.

Cross-posted at EastBayCitizen.

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