This no longer could be called a primary, since ballots cast on June 7, 2016 would decide nothing. "Top Two" meant disposal of minor candidates, while former Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson, a pair of Democrats, would contest the real election on November 8, 2016. A more detailed discussion of the term limits and Top Two situation from 2012 is on Page 8.
Sandre Swanson was "termed out" in 2012 after six years in the Assembly; Nancy Skinner similarly termed out in 2014. Skinner was the first U.C. student elected to the Berkeley City Council way back in 1984. She received the most votes of any candidate in a Berkeley Citizens Action (BCA) sweep, the last election to have slates. Skinner later won re-election in District 1 before retiring in 1992.
Nancy Skinner's major comeback was in 2008, replacing Loni Hancock in the Assembly. Now with Loni termed out of the State Senate after two terms, Skinner intended to replace her again. Skinner had the strongest credentials as an environmentalist of any candidate to emerge from Berkeley. She had been holding fundraisers for this State Senate race starting with her last Assembly campaign in 2012. One of her many advantages would be the ability to greatly outspend Sandre Swanson.
Swanson benefited from Representative Barbara Lee's strong support, and that of other black elected officials such as Assemblyman Tony Thurmond. He also had State Senator Loni Hancock's endorsement, achieved in 2012, the price paid for Swanson not running against her. (also discussed on Page 8, the above link.) The Berkeley City Council minority supported Swanson because of Nancy Skinner's connections to Tom Bates, Loni Hancock and the Council majority, including her pro-Council majority endorsements.
The June 7, 2016 results were hardly a surprise:
Nancy Skinner 116,710 (48%) Sandre Swanson 74,365 (30%)
Nancy Skinner would remain the heavy favorite moving on to November.
Nancy Skinner vs. Sandre Swanson
State Senate: Round 1
Democratic Presidential Primary
Bernie Sanders v. Hillary Clinton
This one did count, in terms of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders in the campus area and other progressive neighborhoods. Bernie would have done a great deal better, but for the semester over on election day, and a much lower student vote.
Hillary Clinton did best in the hills, a very old Berkeley election pattern, the hills more conservative/moderate than the city as a whole.
Berkeley results were:
Bernie Sanders22,993 (54%) Hillary Clinton 19,120 (45%)