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McNerney declares victory

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006 at 12:20 am in election 2006.

In a stunning turn of events, congressional District 11 Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney declared victory just after midnight over Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy.

With three-quarters of the precincts counted, McNerney led by 4 percentage points. He was winning in three of the four counties. Only San Joaquin voters were supporting Pombo and not by as much as one would expect in the congressman’s home county.

Pombo’s campaign aides refused to concede, however, and said they would wait until all the votes have been counted.

“We won this thing — it’s ours,” McNerney said. “I’m going to fight to create new jobs. We’re going to become the country we know we can be. I’m looking to you to help inspire me. It’s
about the people — we won over the monied interests. It’s time to party.”

Pombo, meanwhile, has left his campaign party. His staff says he will hold a press conference on Wednesday.

Here’s what reporter Ryan Huff had to say about McNerney’s campaign party:

Just as the rain started to fall in San Ramon after midnight, the reign of Rep. Richard Pombo came crashing down too.

At 12:12 a.m. Wednesday, McNerney stood in front of 10 American flags and hundreds of cheering supporters to declare victory in a major Congressional upset.

“We won this thing — it’s ours,” he said, constantly interrupted by cheers. “I’m going to fight to create new jobs. We’re going to become the country we know we can be. I’m looking to you to help inspire me. It’s about the people — we won over the monied interests. It’s time to party.”

And just like that, he walked into the crowd like a rock star. People even started dancing to the tunes of the Doobie Brothers’ “Taking It To The Street” and U2′s “Beautiful Day.” Also blasting from the stereo: the Bill Clinton favorite, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

Speaking of the former president, he called McNerney around midnight to congratulate him.

“He told me if I speak up about renewable energy that I can really make a difference,” McNerney said.

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