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Archive for November, 2006

McNerney declares victory

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.

Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
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Scenes from the CD11 parties: Part 5

This from reporter Ryan Huff at McNerney’s party in San Ramon:

At 11:22 p.m., McNerney took the stage in front of a thrilled crowd and sounded very upbeat about his chances to upset seven-term Rep. Richard Pombo. McNerney — wearing a black pinstriped suit, white shirt and turquoise tie — rose to the stage to the chants of “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!”

He fell short of declaring victory, asking supporters to “give him another hour and we’ll announce these things when they are clear.”

Still, at the time of his speech, with about half of the precincts reporting, he led Pombo by 3 percentage points.

“We’re on the cusp of changing the direction of this country,” McNerney said. “We have some very big issues to deal with — health care, the price of gasoline, our dependence on foreign oil. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to face these challenges.”

McNerney also said he would change the culture of corruption in the nation’s capital. “We need honesty in Washington, integrity in Washington, accountability in Washington. And we are going to hold this (Bush) administration accountable for the things that it does.”

And with that, the crowd loudly cheered as Jerry held hands on stage with his wife and three children.

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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Scenes from the CD11 parties: Part 4

“It’s grim around here,” said Times reporter Thomas Peele stationed at Rep. Richard Pombo’s party in a remote little town called Waterloo.

It may turn out to be a fitting locale.

Pombo has already lost his chairmanship of the House Resources Committee after Democrats won enough seats today to seize the reins of control over the House of Representatives.

It’s still too early to say whether he will hold onto his seat against Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.

But the atmosphere suggests that Pombo’s supporters are seriously preoccupied and have little interest in the media.

While accommodations were made for nine or more television crews, campaign staff tossed Peele and several other reporters out of the restaurant, where they had set up their laptop computers at a table. Instead, they were told hang in a tent outside with no lights and no electricity.

“Again, it is grim here,” Peele said. “The only cheer I’ve heard is when Fox News announced that Tom McClintock (Republican lt. governor candidate) was ahead.”

What did you think? That Pombo people would tune into CNN?

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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Scenes from the CD11 campaign parties: Part 3

This just in from reporter Thomas Peele at Pombo’s victory party in Waterloo:

Pombo spoke to journalists and supporters aat 9 p.m. after it was clear that Democrats won control of the House, but with his contest far from decided, he said he remained upbeat.

“I feel great about it,” he said of his chances. “This is the night I’ve been waiting for 18 months since they started coming after me.”

Wearing a blue jeans and white golf shirt, Pombo drew loud cheers when he said “wouldn’t change one thing” about the campaign or his work in Washington.

Asked his reaction to being, if he wins, a member of the House minority, he replied “You think I’m happy about it.”

“It’s a rough year. We lost some seats we shouldn’t have,” he said. “I tell my supporters that elections have consequences.”

He said he hoped likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D- San Francisco, “does a better job as speaker than she’s done as minority leader. I wish her luck.”

Pomo said he didn’t believe that voter distress over the Iraq War wasn’t the top issue in the 11th District.

“There are other major issues,” he said. “People have kids. Transportation is a huge issue.”

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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Scenes from the CD11 campaign parties: Part 2

This report from reporter Ryan Huff at McNerney’s victory party in San Ramon:

It’s starting to get packed at the party. At least 250 people are chopping on food and drinking wine as they watch the results come in on CNN. (What, did you think Fox News would be on at a party for the Democrats?)

The Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife — two groups that have poured money and manpower into this race — have just arrived carrying green McNerney signs.

The crowd started chanting “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!”

This led at least one reporter to wonder if Jerry Springer had arrived. (Neither Jerry actually walked in the room.)

McNerney’s daughter and two sons just arrived at 9:07. Son Mike McNerney stood at a podium
surrounded by 10 American flags and thanked everyone for attending. “Thank you very much for all the sacrifices and hard work,” he said. “What a wonderful night it is tonight. This campaign has already achieved the impossible. Six months ago no one would have given us a chance. And here we are tonight neck and neck with one of the most powerful Republicans on Capitol Hill.”

His father, Jerry, is expected to arrive around 10 p.m. It’s tough to tell if he will give a concession or victory speech.

With 22 percent of precincts reporting, Pombo leads by 2 percentage points. But none of the
results are in yet from Alameda County — which has nearly 51,000 registered voters in the Congressional district.

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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Scenes from the CD11 campaign parties: Part 1

Reporter Thomas Peele filed this report from Pombo’s victory party:

“Reporters outnumber supporters at Pombo headquarters at the Waterloo Restaurant in the tiny town of Waterloo about 10 miles east of Stockton.

The half dozen Pombo supporters groaned when the large screen TV flashed “Democrats Take House.”

The congressman is not yet in sight. His supporters are monitoring returns in a large recreational vehicle parked behind the restaurant.”

This report from reporter Ryan Huff at McNerney’s victory party in San Ramon:

“Any doubt on who’s party this was stopped at the parking lot of the San Ramon Golf Club. Two eight-foot tall heads of Rep. Richard Pombo and President Bush sat atop a trailer with the message: “Bush’s Main Squeeze: Pombo.”

It’s got to make you wonder if those heads might be used as pinatas at the end of the
night if Pombo goes down.

Not far from that trailer, masts for five TV live trucks rose up into the night — showing just how much interest there is the 11th District Congressional race.

Any chance of this race affecting a power shift in the House of Representatives ended shortly after 8 p.m., when Democrats took control. Loud cheers rang out at the McNerney party, with one man running around the room, chanting: “We did it! We did it!”

This power shift will lead to San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi taking over as Speaker of the House. One partygoer said, “People ask me if we can live with San Francisco values. Well, they are a lot better than the values we have now.”

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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National political analysts: Links

If you’ve been asleep for two weeks and have missed the congressional predictions by the top national political analysts, here’s a set of links.

Note that some of the sites requires a subscription or membership, but a good deal of their material is free.

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia
Rothenberg Political Report
Cook Political Report

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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Local election return sites

If local election results are more on your mind than the national scene, here are the results links to our local counties.

Note that these sites won’t have numbers until after polls close at 8 p.m.

The first numbers to appear will be the results of absentee ballots, although it will probably not inlcude ballots that arrived in election offices on Monday or today. These early numbers are not always indicative of the final outcome, so don’t take them too seriously.

Also, for folks following congressional District 11, which crosses four counties, keep in mind that the county numbers reflect only the portion of the district that is in that county. For the totals, visit the Secretary of State’s result page here.

Here’s a direct link to congressional District 11 returns.


Alameda County

Contra Costa County
Santa Clara County
San Joaquin County
Solano County

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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Congressional power score card sites

Want to track the Congressional power score card?

Here are some of the top television news web sites that I’ll be checking throughout the evening. If readers find others they want to share, post a comment or send me an e-mail at lvorderbrueggen@cctimes.com and I’ll add them to the list.

ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2006/
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/youdecide2006/index.html
MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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EMILY’s List predicts gains for women

EMILY’s List, a national fund-raising organization that promotes the candidacy of Democratic, pro-choice women, predicts historic gains for women in todday’s mid-term congressional elections.

For updates as polls close and results become available, visit www.emilyslist.org.

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
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