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Hector Reyna (March 4, 1935 – October 23, 2008) was a political icon in Oakland, running repeatedly for political office but never winning a single race.

Born on March 4, 1935 in Texas, Reyna served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He moved to Oakland in 1955-1957 from Corpus Christi, Texas. He owned several businesses in Oakland over the years, including a recycling business ("Mr. Recycle") and a limousine company ("Millionaire Limousine") run by his daughter. After a disagreement with the City Council over an ordinance that affected one of his properties, he ran for Council in the mid-1960s and lost. A 1965 article about running for mayor lists Reyna as a "teamster and warehouseman, machinist, Democratic political organizer." 5

Over the years Mr. Reyna became a gadfly in the City Council, "to raise hell with those people." 1 He also ran for office numerous other times over the years, including for city council; the BART board; the AC Transit board; the East Bay Regional Parks board; the California Senate; U.S. Congress, and against every mayor of Oakland for 25 years, from Lionel Wilson to Ron Dellums.

Campaign History

  • In 1962, Reyna ran for A.C. Transit District Director (at-large). Reyna received 4,946 votes vs. Robert M. Copeland's 127,892 votes. 10
  • In the 1965 Oakland mayoral campaign, Reyna ran against John C. Houlihan, A. N. MacFarlane, Paul Montauk, and Fred E. Reed. 5
  • In 1967, Reyna ran for city council against incumbent Fred Maggiora in District 5. 7 He received 11,700 votes vs. 49,750 votes for Maggiora. 8
  • In 1968, Reyna ran for the California State Assembly, District 16. 9
  • In 1976, Reyna ran against A.C. Transit District Director incumbent Ray Rinehart. There was some question whether Reyna was even a resident of the necessary A.C. Transit District in question. 6 Regardless, Reyna received 16,425 votes vs. Rinehart's 152,294 votes. 11
  • In 1977, he ran for mayor (April 17, 1977 election)
  • In the 1981 Oakland mayoral campaign which was won by incumbent Lionel Wilson, Reyna came in second with 6,274 votes vs. 34,918 votes for Wilson, or about 13% of the vote. 3
  • In the 2002 U.S. House of Representatives race against incumbent Barbara Lee, Hector Reyna received 6 write-in votes. 4
  • In the 2006 Oakland mayoral campaign which was won by Ron Dellums, Reyna received 348 votes, or 0.4% of the votes. 2

Hector Reyna passed away on October 23, 2008, never having won a single race for office.

Links and References

  1. Rest home accused of abuse in death of gadfly California Watch January 5, 2010
  2. Mayor; City of Oakland Election June 6, 2006
  3. Tax Increase To Curtail Crime Rejected by Oakland Residents The Palm Beach Post April 23, 1981
  4. Barbara Lee on Wikipedia
  5. 5 Seeking Mayor's Office Oakland Tribune April 16, 1965
  6. Economic issues confront transit head, opponents The Argus October 14, 1976
  7. Maggoria, Hillburn Seek Re-Election Oakland Tribune April 7, 1967
  8. Reading Wins Big; 2 Council Runoffs Oakland Tribune April 19, 1967
  9. Meade Is Favored in 16th District Assembly Race Oakland Tribune May 19, 1968
  10. Alameda County / Election Results Oakland Tribune November 7, 1962
  11. AC Transit Oakland Tribune November 3, 1976