Out front in Oakland: who might run for mayor in 2022

Out front in Oakland: who might run for mayor in 2022
Photo: Oakland City Hall/MJ Carter
By MJ Carter - Published on April 01, 2021.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is termed out at a time when Oakland has close and cordial Washington, D.C. ties through Vice President Kamala Harris. Mayor Schaaf has been known for standing up to Washington under the Trump administration, but all that has changed. And Hoodline made some inquiries to a short list of potential candidates who may run for mayor of Oakland in 2022.

Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan, who is also Vice Mayor of Oakland, is widely expected to run for Mayor once again. This will be Kaplan's third run for the job, after coming in third in the race in 2010, and coming in second to Schaaf in 2014. Shortly after Hoodline spoke to her chief of staff, Kimberly Jones, on the topic of Kaplan's possible run for mayor next year, Kaplan posted a series of tweets that made it sound like she's already running — though she's yet to make any official announcement. Kaplan is pushing for rapid-build affordable housing and an extension to the hotel program for housing the homeless — which is being reimbursed by FEMA.

"We need real systemic solutions to our housing and homeless crisis, including using resources like FEMA reimbursable hotel rooms, use of public land, partnerships and more," Kaplan said, posting her plan.

Another name that Hoodline’s sources have dropped as a potential mayoral candidate, the biggest name potentially, is not Councilmember Kaplan — it’s Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Bass is a Los Angeles native and a congresswoman representing Los Angeles, and she has been consistently mentioned as a potential candidate — alongside Rep. Barbara Lee — to replace Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, should she ever retire.

However, there is another name that is making waves as a potential candidate who is less known: Police Commissioner Regina Jackson. Sources have mentioned her name in the mix, and incidentally she is pictured with Congresswoman Lee on her Facebook Page

Any of these three women could potentially be the next mayor of Oakland, and the fact that the Town now has close White House ties is a plus. 

Councilmember Kaplan has kept up her Twitter presence in recent weeks, weighing in on the vaccination rollout, her housing plan, and national issies. She also tweeted about Dorothy King, owner of Everett and Jones BBQ, who recently died and her memorial services were held on Wednesday, March 31st. 

A couple sample tweets:

Congresswoman Bass, meanwhile, is focusing all her energies on the Derek Chauvin trial via Twitter, and she has not said anything that even leans toward the idea of her running for Mayor of Oakland. Hoodline reached out to Darryn Harris, chief of staff to Congresswoman Bass, as well as her Communications Director, Zachary Seidl, and received no response.


Then there is outfielder Regina Jackson, President and CEO of East Oakland Youth Development Center and a member of the Police Commission. Hoodline attempted to reach her for comment through her website, but did not yet receive a response.

These are the big three to watch in the coming year. But that doesn't mean that a few more candidates will not come to play, or even to win.