Pombo vs. McNerney: Hey, you started it!

Shots fired back and forth today between the congressional District 11 campaigns of Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and his Democratic challenger, wind energy consultant Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.

McNerney’s folks started off with a press release about how Pombo is headed to San Diego Wednesday for a fund-raising spree down south with fellow GOP candidate Rep. Brian Bilbray.


Democratic staffers have conveniently combined a couple of events for literary effect.

The senior event, sponsored by the American Assocation of Retired Persons, is tonight in Stockton and Pombo’s staff says he doesn’t leave for San Diego until Wednesday.

McNerney is going to the senior event but Pombo is not. The Dems say Pombo is ducking the event because “he is afraid to answer questions about his anti-senior agenda that includes privatizing Social Security and opposing government negotiation for lower prescription drug prices,” campaign spokesman Yoni Cohen said.

Not true, says Pombo campaign manager Carl Fogliani. He says Pombo is doing a tele-town hall tonight. “Whether McNerney’s people believe it or not, this campaign doesn’t revolve around their candidate,” he says.

Cohen fired back with, “If Pombo made time in his schedule to attend the AARP candidates’ forum and the Commonwealth Club and League of Women Voters debates, we would not criticize him for leaving the 11th Congressional District to raise campaign cash.”

The McNerney folks, meanwhile, failed to mention that their candidate is headed for New York on Thursday, where he’ll be feted at three fund-raisers.

Let’s just imagine, for a moment, the counter-press release that must certainly be under consideration at this very moment: “WHERE’S MCNERNEY? IN NEW YORK. WITH DONORS. NOT SENIORS.”

On Thursday night, according to the Democracy for New York web site, McNerney will appear at a swanky Upper West Side event with New York state Sen. Eric Schneiderman and Jim Dean, brother of Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean.

Later that evening, McNerney heads to the Pioneer Bar and what promises to be a very entertaining spoof, featuring “Billionaires for Bush” expressing their “outrage” at McNerney’s grassroots campaign.

And finally, McNerney will appear in Midtown for breakfast at Skadden Arps in Times Square.

What’s all this travel about? Money, money, money, money.