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Campaign Money Watch joins CD11 fray

The Public Campaign Action Fund, a Washington, D.C. campaign reform organization, has spent $125,000 to produce and run a TV ad that attempts to link Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff through campaign contributions.

Watch the ad here.

Campaign Money Watch is the latest of more than 20 organizations spending money independent of the candidates in an effort to influence the outcome of the election.

Pombo is running against Democratic nominee Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.

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CD11 goes gaga for YouTube

Wow, check out the videos on YouTube in the congressional District 11 race between Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and Democratic nominee Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.

There are at least 20 on the site, many of them renditions of TV ads from the two campaigns.

But there are a couple of what we’ll call freelance productions.

One submitted by “mmcintee” features cartoons and a very catchy tune titled “Had enough of Dirty Dick Pombo? Vote for Jerry McNerney.”

The other is a 3-minute job with strange, new-age music against a backdrop of changing slides and film footage titled “Don’t Tell Them You’re From Berkeley” from a user identified as “neighborsforpombotv.” It attempts to paint a picture of McNerney courting liberals from Berkeley for an invasion of District 11. Its most humerous moment is footage of ex-San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown butchering McNerney’s last name.

On the other hand, don’t let this fool you into imagining droves of people downloading CD11 political videos.

The view counts are pretty small, nothing close to the 90,000 viewing of the man who eats a puked-up cockroach to win Incubus tickets.

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DCCC enters Congressional District 11 race

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has entered the contentious race between Democratic nominee Jerry McNerney and GOP Rep. Richard Pombo, signalling that the party’s internal polling may be favorable for the challenger.

An ad funded by the committee starts running today in the Sacramento TV market, according to spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield. The cost won’t be known until the committee posts its expenses on the Federal Election Commission web site, per 24-hour reporting rules. Click here to view the ad.

The spot accuses Pombo of voting to raise his own salary eight times — worth $31,000 — but voted in 2003 against an amendment that would have given troops in Iraq and Afghanistan a $1,500 bonus.

A voiceover then says, “There’s a better choice. Jerry McNerney. An independent businessman committeed to our future.”

Up until now, the DCCC had spent little cash in this district while its Republican counter-part has spent at least $650,000.

From the Pombo campaign office, staffers called both issues bogus.

The House has considered only four direct up or down votes on pay, and they were all to prevent the automatic cost-of-living-increase from going into effect, said staffer Brian Kennedy. Pombo voted to block the increase each time. The votes were on 3/4/93, 6/15/94, 9/8/95 and 7/16/96.

The votes the Democrats cite in the TV ad were procedural shenanigans, Kennedy said, staged to give the impression that the minority party has tried to stop raises while actually never affecting their pay.

A representative’s pay has risen $31,600 to $165,200 since Pombo took office 13 years ago, or an average of $2,430 a year.

On the troop bonus legislation, Kennedy said, the amendment proposed to fund the extra pay with $1 billion from the Iraq reconstruction fund. The U.S. is buying oil from Iraq and those funds are earmarked for rebuilding the war-torn country.

At the time, Kennedy said, commanders in Iraq were telling Congress that reconstruction funding was the top prioriety.

“Every member of Congress would love to give the troops $1 million bonus, let alone $1,500,” Kennedy said. “But the question is whether this was the right source of the funds.”

The bill failed on a 213-213 vote. Pombo was one of 14 Republicans and two Democrats who voted no, including war hero, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania.

Several weeks later, Kennedy said, the House passed legislation that, among other benefits, awarded troops a 4.15 percent average pay raise and extended special pay and bonuses for active duty personnel through December 31, 2004.

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Contra Costa Republican to challenge Jerry Brown’s candidacy

Contra Costa County GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, among other Republicans, says he will file a lawsuit in Sacramento on Thursday asking a judge to declare Democratic attorney general candidate Jerry Brown ineligible to seek the office.

Del Beccarro, an attorney with offices in Walnut Creek, declined to say on what grounds except to say that he believes Brown does not meet the “minimum qualifications for the office as set forth Californa law.”

The case will ask a judge to direct the state’s registrars of voters not to count ballots cast for Brown, who is running against Republican Chuck Poochigian.

Del Beccarro and other plaintiffs, including Yolo County GOP Chairman Mark Pruner, will hold a press conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m. on the steps of the Sacramento Superior Court building.