Oakland mayoral candidates, from left to right: Ignacio De La Fuente, Treva Reid, Gregory Hodge, Loren Taylor, Allyssa Victory Villanueva, Sheng Thao, Seneca Scott, and Peter Liu. Credit: Amir Aziz

The nine contenders who have qualified to run for mayor this year include experienced politicians like current and former city councilmembers and school board members, community activists, and nonprofit and business leaders. 

Their political ideologies range from socialist to conservative, with most falling on the liberal-to-progressive end of the political spectrum. They live in the flatlands and the hills and have a vast array of education, training, and experiences that could be useful if elected.

We’ll interview each candidate for in-depth profiles closer to the Nov. 8 election. But we figured a simple list of who’s running would be useful at this point. They’re presented in alphabetical order below.

If you have any questions you want us to ask the candidates, let us know, and check out the rest of our ongoing elections coverage here.

Ignacio De La Fuente

De La Fuente served five terms on the Oakland City Council from 1992 to 2012, representing District 5, which includes Fruitvale and San Antonio. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor twice, in 1998 when Jerry Brown won, and again in 2006 against eventual winner Ron Dellums.

De La Fuente came to Oakland from Mexico in the late 1970s and took a job in a foundry as a machinist. He became a leader in the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics, and Allied Workers International Union, where he served as vice president until 2014.

Since leaving government, De La Fuente has worked as a lobbyist and consultant through his own firm, IDLF Solutions.

“I cannot stand by and witness the city that I love become a place where people are afraid to walk the streets,” De La Fuente said in a statement on his website about why he’s running for mayor. He promises to crack down on crime and homelessness. “I will tryto not only to do whatever it takes to increase the number of police officers, but I will give them the resources that they need to help them do their job, but above all, I will provide them the backupback up and political support that they need and deserve to perform their job for our residents and for our businesses.”

Gregory Hodge

Born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Hodge has lived in Oakland for the past 40 years and in West Oakland since 1992.

A social entrepreneur and licensed attorney, Hodge operates Khepera Consulting and is involved in several community organizations, including the Brotherhood of Elders Network, which works to advance the health and wellness of Black men and boys. He served two terms on the Oakland Unified School District board from 2001 to 2009 and was board president from 2003 to 2005. As a leader in the Wo’se Community Church, Hodge is also involved in the African-centered school Ile Omode in East Oakland.

Over the past two years, Hodge has co-chaired the county health department’s COVID-19 Community Advisory Group, which has helped shape an equitable pandemic response.

Hodge told the San Francisco Bayview newspaper he’s running for Oakland out of a sense of love. “I am running for mayor because I love Oakland—its people, its distinct neighborhood life and the spirit that makes us who we are. I believe in Oakland’s ability to rise, and our leadership needs to show that.”

Tyron Jordan

Jordan grew up in a military family in Southern California and Fairfield, earned a bachelor’s degree in government from California State University Sacramento, and served in the Army from 1997 to 2004. He currently works as a paralegal in the California Attorney General’s office.

Jordan sits on the city’s Library Advisory Commission and is a member of the Oakland Rotary Club, where he volunteers with the KinderPrep committee, which distributes books to low-income families to encourage a love of reading from an early age. He also volunteers with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, where he helps veterans obtain housing, healthcare, and mental health assistance.

On his website, he lists housing and homelessness as top issues he would tackle as mayor. “Far too many residents have been displaced and priced out of the communities which they have lived for years; forced out because of gentrification,” he wrote. “I believe that no resident should be forced to move and relegated to the outskirts, because of income/socio-economic status.”

Peter Liu

Liu has run for mayor of Oakland twice before and was a Republican candidate for governor of California in 2018. He also unsuccessfully attempted to run for U.S. Senate and Alameda County Sheriff earlier this year but did not qualify for the ballot.

He immigrated to the U.S. at age seven, graduated from Oakland High School in 1998, then from UC Santa Cruz, and later served in the Army.

Asked in 2018 about his occupation, Liu told ABC 7 news, “I am too rich to be working.” Liu claims to be a multi-millionaire and in his previous campaigns has run on a platform promising to make other Oakland residents wealthy by helping them brainstorm business ideas. He promotes gun ownership and supports “concealed carry” laws.

In 2014, he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he should be mayor because “God specifically asked me to bring world peace to this world, using my plan, the community empowered safety plan,” which would “enable an army of leaders to rise up.”

Treva Reid

Halfway through her first term on the City Council representing District 7, Reid previously was a government affairs manager for California Waste Solutions, the city’s recycling contractor, and PG&E. Before that, she was an aide to Nancy Skinner in the California State Assembly.

Reid is an alumna of Emerge California, a Democratic Party-aligned political group that fosters women leaders and counts San Francisco Mayor London Breed and outgoing Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf among its graduates.

A ministry leader at Shiloh Church, Reid described herself at a recent forum as a “resilient single mother” hailing from a large family of civil servants, faith leaders, and business people who have always centered “taking care of the community.” She is the daughter of former District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid.

On her website she lists homelessness, public safety, affordable housing, and economic development as the major issues she’ll tackle as mayor.

John Reimann

A retired carpenter and former recording secretary of the Carpenters Local 713, Reimann says that he was expelled for life from the union due to his support of a wildcat strike in 1999 in San Francisco. 

Reimann is a socialist who believes that a “mass working-class rebellion” is needed to build a movement capable of acting on issues like climate change and inequality.

As mayor, Reimann wrote in a blog post, he would be concerned with issues of low pay, lack of jobs, racism and police brutality, healthcare, and environmental issues. 

“Oakland is not an isolated island; there is not a single issue that workers in Oakland face that can be resolved outside of a national, and in fact an international, working class political movement,” he wrote when announcing his run for mayor.

Seneca Scott

Scott is the founder of Oakhella, an entertainment company that organizes cultural events, and a co-founder of Bottoms Up Community Gardens in West Oakland. He moved to Oakland in 2012 while working for the labor union SEIU 1021 and lives in the Lower Bottoms neighborhood.

A candidate for the District 3 City Council seat in 2020, he finished fourth in a field of six contenders.

Last year, he founded the group Neighbors Together Oakland, which has sued the city to force it to implement the Encampment Management Policy, a set of rules that bans homeless people from camping in most areas of Oakland.

On his campaign website, Scott lists “law and order” as his first priority and pledges to build the ranks of the Oakland Police Department to 900 officers. 

“Nothing can happen to lift our city until the war between City Hall and the Police is put to an end and we are all working together under new leadership towards the shared goals of safety and improvement in the quality of life for all of our residents,” his website states.

Loren Taylor

Taylor grew up in Oakland and can trace his roots in the city back to his grandparents. A biomedical engineering consultant who has worked with corporations and nonprofits, he graduated from the University of Connecticut with a master’s degree and from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business with an MBA.

Elected to the City Council in 2018 to represent District 6, he co-chaired the city’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force, has advocated for more equitable city contracting practices, and supported the Black Cultural Zone in East Oakland, among other initiatives.

On his website, Taylor lists his priorities as addressing the homelessness and affordable housing crisis, reimagining public safety, equitable economic growth, public health, and effective and efficient government.

At a recent public forum, he said he decided to enter the mayor’s race because he believes the kinds of opportunities his grandparents sought when they came to Oakland are disappearing for many current residents.

Sheng Thao

The daughter of Hmong refugees from Laos, Thao was born and raised in Stockton. She attended college while a single mother, first at Merritt College before transferring to UC Berkeley, where she graduated with a degree in legal studies. 

Her experiences as a parent and a survivor of domestic violence have informed her approach to many issues, she’s said in public forums and interviews.

Thao was elected to City Council in 2018 to represent District 4. BeforePrior to this, she worked as at-large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s chief of staff. 

During her four years in office, Thao has authored legislation helping workers keep their jobs through the COVID-19 pandemic and establishing additional police academies and signing bonuses to retain OPD officers, and she supported capping rent increases on rent-controlled housing to prevent tenant displacement. Thao also helped mediate talks between labor unions and business groups to create unity around the progressive business tax ballot measure that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

She said at a recent forum she’s running because she feels she can bring together normally “siloed” groups to make progress on Oakland’s toughest problems like homelessness and crime.

Before joining The Oaklandside as News Editor, Darwin BondGraham worked with The Appeal, where he was an investigative reporter covering police and prosecutorial misconduct. He has reported on gun violence for The Guardian, and was an enterprise reporter for the East Bay Express. BondGraham's work has also appeared with KQED, ProPublica and other leading national and local outlets. He holds a doctorate in sociology from UC Santa Barbara and was the co-recipient of the George Polk Award for local reporting in 2017.