OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — One key candidate in Oakland’s mayoral race did not show up Tuesday as the other candidates laid out their visions for the city at Good Hope Baptist Church in East Oakland.

Five candidates took questions at Tuesday’s forum. Each candidate has the goal of unseating incumbent mayor Libby Schaaf, who is widely thought to be headed toward re-election.

But Schaaf herself did not make an appearance at Tuesday’s event, and there was frustration at her absence.

“I don’t accept that characterization. That’s based on the polls that have happened. She doesn’t probably have 50+1%, and polls don’t count for ground game,” said Cat Brooks, one of the candidates running for Schaaf’s seat.

“I think that those outside of Oakland may not understand the depth of dissatisfaction that Oaklanders have with Mayor Schaaf, the direction of the city,” said Pamela Price, another candidate.

Saied Karamooz, yet another mayoral candidate, further denounced Schaaf’s character. Karamooz said that Schaaf was “very negligent”  and “disrespected the community” by not being present to answer the community’s questions.

Some of the most prominent issues that the candidates discussed were the city’s challenges in facing homelessness and housing costs.

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KPIX 5 spoke to Schaaf about her absence at the forum and the subsequent backlash.

“Oakland is a feisty city, it’s an activist city, so it’s not surprising. There are 10 people running for mayor,” she said.

Oakland’s mayoral race hinges on ranked choice voting, and it seems the field of candidates is most likely running for second place as well as second choice behind Schaaf.

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