McNerney topples Pombo

U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, once thought invincible in a safe GOP seat, has been turned out by voters in the Democratic storm that roared across the country Tuesday.

With all the precincts tallied, Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton held a solid lead of 6 percentage points and more than 10,000 votes.

At 12:12 a.m. Wednesday, McNerney stood in front of 10 American flags and hundreds of cheering supporters at the San Ramon Golf Club to declare victory.

“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, the Phd mathematician who lost to Pombo two years ago by 60,000 votes, walked into the loud crowd like a rock star.

The race will go down in California history as a massive upset in a district where the incumbent held a 6-percentage point party registration advantage going into Tuesday’s election. No other district in the state has flipped parties with this large a registration gap.

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Lisa Vorderbrueggen