Gene Clare and his bright orange jersey were able to cross the finish line as winners in the Brentwood City Council race after Tuesday election when he earned 25% of the vote (6,539).
Erick Stonebarger was the other winner and top vote getter recieving 7,189 votes (27.68%) while Robert Brockman lost his re-election bid with just 4,747 votes (18.28%).
“I am extremely honored that the voters have honored me to be a leader in the city. It’s truly an honor,” said Clare.
On election night, the delay in results kept him from celebrating which he compared it to running as there is a starting line and a finishing line.
“When they first came in, I was excited. I liked what I saw, however, we only had 2 precincts and absentees showing. So I couldn’t get excited. The county was slow and since I am runner until I cross the finish line, the race is not over. It wasn’t until 12:30am when we finally had precincts reporting. That is when I said okay, yes this is good. Then I was so excited I stayed up to 2:30am,” explained Clare.
After that, he started to receive many phone calls, text messages, and social media messages of congratulations. That is when it hit him that he had won and his goal became a reality.
“Wow my goodness, what an honor receiving all the congratulations,” said Clare.
During the campaign, what I enjoyed most about Gene Clare was the fact he branded himself in a way that was hard to forget. While some classified his “Running for Brentwood” line as cheesy, I thought it was clever. Adding the bright orange jersey was priceless because you could spot him in any crowd.
“I averaged 40-50 miles per week. That’s a lot of weeks and a lot of miles. That shirt stinks so bad,” Clare said with a laugh. “I washed it over and over, but it’s the only shirt I wore. I am running hard for your votes, if elected, I am gonna run hard for you as an elected. I am running hard and going to work hard.”
Clare did admit he was going to retire his jersey.
In speaking with Clare, he was very humble and appreciative of the support in putting faith in him to lead and now he wants to return the favor to voters by working on their behalf.
“I wanted to serve other people. That is the bottom line. Are their things I want to get done, yes, but it’s not about me, it’s about the citizens and will represent them. The campaign was about me because of the politics, but now it’s about the citizens and their needs and keeping up with their desires. Their vision is important,” said Clare.
As the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services for the Liberty Union High School District, Clare ran on the following items:
- Attract new business, especially downtown.
- Create new jobs.
- Partner with our schools for education and recreation opportunities for our youth.
- Protect public safety.
- Promote environmental sustainability.
“We (Brentwood) are in an exciting time. We need to put a lot of interest towards North Brentwood. We really need to take a look at that. Fire safety is a priority and we need to continue making good use of our facilities. We also need a business park like San Ramon,” explained Clare.
Even with Tuesday night’s success, he still does not forget about his first attempt at running for office. He learned a few things that helped him this time around.
“You really have to connect one on one with the voters. Being in the community a long time it helps, name recognition helps, but you have to connect. I knocked on over 5,000 doors, people saw me. I didn’t do that the first time. I tried to be everywhere and attend events. People saw me and made a human connection,” said Clare.
He explained that when he stopped at people’s homes to talk, they would tell him that they saw him out running, saw his sign,
“They would say, wow, you are actually hear at my door. They liked that I took the time to come meet with them at your door,” said Clare. “You really need to put yourself out there.”
The best advice he has heard is the advice that he gives students.
“I tried my best no matter what. We always have obstacles we have to overcome. It’s a simple concept but it works. If you going to do something, then do your best,” said Clare.
Clare thanked all his opponents on a good race and said Brentwood would have won regardless of the outcome because of the quality of candidates.
“It was great we had quality people running for our city. Anyone of us would have done a great job. Brentwood was lucky to have that kind of interest and quality of people looking to be of service,” said Clare.
To find out more about Gene Clare, you can visit his campaign website.
City of Brentwood Council (top 2)
- Erick Stonebarger: 7,189 (27.68%)
- Gene Clare: 6,539 (25.17%)
- Robert Brockman: 4,747 (18.28%)
- Carissa Pillow: 4.675 (18.00%)
- Chris Becnel: 2,783 (10.71%)
By Michael Burkholder