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Democratic Party delegate deadline on Wednesday

Any registered Democrat in California still has time to run for one of the 241 up-for-grabs delegate seats for the party’s national presidential convention in Denver on Aug. 25-28. The deadline to file as a delegate candidate is Wednesday at 5 p.m.

The campaigns for presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will hold caucus elections on April 13 in each of California’s 53 Congressional districts. Based on the results of California’s Feb. 5 primary election, Clinton will receive 134 and Obama 107 delegates.

To be successful, a candidate must secure the winning number of votes at the caucus of his or her Congressional district. Many delegate hopefuls are already campaigning to bring their friends and neighbors out to the caucuses.

The balance of California’s 441 delegates include members of Congress, party leaders and a slate of mayors and other local elected officials who will be selected by the party in May.

All delegates must pay their own airfare, hotel, meals and other expenses, estimated to be about $2,500.

For information on how the process works and how to apply to become a candidate, visit www.cadem.org and click on “Become a Delegate!”

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House Speaker Pelosi visits Concord

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke of the presidential race, the Iraq War and her new life as a national leader during a speech this afternoon in Concord at a packed luncheon fund-raiser for six-term incumbent Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo.

Pelosi made a similar fund-raising stop for Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, late this afternoon in a reception prior to her appearance at this weekend’s California Democratic Party convention in San Jose.

In Concord at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Pelosi charmed the crowd with her trademark mix of smart policy talk with warm personal touches. She called Tauscher “girlfriend” and spoke lovingly of the East Bay lawmaker’s teen-aged daughter, Katherine, who used to arrive at political events in her mother’s arms and is now college shopping.

Some folks may remember a few years ago when the two women quarreled over district boundaries and leadership votes. But those differences are clearly a thing of the past as the pair obviously enjoyed each other’s company. The women also delivered glowing commentaries about each other’s political credentials and skills, a typical but sincere activity at political fund-raisers.

On the policy front, Pelosi reiterated to the crowd what she has been saying on the national stage for months.

She said it’s time to elect a Democratic president who will safely and securely extricate the U.S. from the Iraq War, a costly conflict she says is leading the country into a recession.

But no, she didn’t let on which of the two potential nominees she prefers, referring only to the fact that America is ready for “something new” and “a change,” watchwords for every presidential hopeful.

Pelosi expressed continued concern about long-term political stability in Pakistan and called on the international community to redouble its efforts in Afghanistan before extremist forces gain a further foothold there.

Some folks also asked Pelosi as she mingled prior to her speech about what it was like to be Speaker of the House of Representatives.

She answered them from the podium, where she paused, smiled and said, “It’s absolutely fabulous.”

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee sent out a less than flattering missive about Pelosi’s appearance for McNerney later in the day. They characterized it as a reward for voting “in lock-step with Pelosi 96 percent of the time.”

The NRCC is backing McNerney’s presumed GOP opponent, former Assemblyman Dean Andal of Stockton. (Pictured on the right.) McNerney, a freshman who defeated Republican Richard Pombo in 2006, is one of the top Republican targets in the country.

Tauscher is also seeking re-election. Her presumed opponent is Republican Nick Gerber of Moraga (pictured on the right) but the political novice is considered a serious long-shot.

The NRCC hasn’t sent out a single email on Gerber’s behalf yet. What’s up with that?

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Foreclosure clinic set for Saturday in Richmond

Rep. George Miller, D- Martinez, will speak to struggling homeowners at a free Foreclosure Information Day in Richmond on Saturday, March 29.

Here’s Miller’s event advisory:

The bi-lingual, day-long event is being organized by a consortium of West County leaders, including Supervisor John Gioia, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, the City of Richmond and the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency.

This seminar will offer advice on how to avoid a mortgage meltdown during the current credit crisis. HUD Certified Housing Counselors will be available to answer questions and information will be offered in English and Spanish.

As foreclosure rates in California and across the country continue to rise, Contra Costa County is experiencing the highest foreclosure rate in the San Francisco Bay Area. Studies show that more than half of homeowners do not seek help when they begin to fall behind on payments, but those who do seek help in the early stages of delinquency are more likely to avoid foreclosure. This seminar will address different ways through which foreclosure can be prevented and offer suggestions for where struggling homeowners can seek assistance.

WHEN: Saturday, March 29, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Miller will speak at 9 a.m.)

WHO: Congressman George Miller, Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, Supervisor John Gioia, Mayor of Richmond Gail McLaughlin, Mayor of Hercules Joanne Ward, Vice Mayor of San Pablo Leonard McNeil,San Pablo City Councilwoman Genoveva Calloway, cities of Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito and Pinole, Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency, Neighborworks America, Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) , Countrywide and Wells Fargo Maria Benjamin, Program Director- Community Housing Development Corporation of North Richmond,

WHAT: West Contra Costa “Foreclosure Information Day”

WHERE: Richmond Recreation Center

3230 Macdonald Avenue,

Richmond, CA 94804

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Saint Marys will host presidential handicapping forum

Two political veterans will offer their thoughts at a free Saint Mary’s College forum on what to expect from Democrats and Republicans in the general election as the presidential campaign reaches the end of the primary season.

The event is set for April 2 at 3:30 p.m. at Haggerty Lounge, De La Salle Hall, Saint Mary’s College of California, 1928 St. Mary’s Rd., Moraga

Here are more details from the college:

Who: Tony Quinn, an expert in political trends and demographics, is the co-editor of the California Target Book, a nonpartisan analysis of California’s legislative and congressional elections. He has 35 years experience with California state government, including four years with the Assembly Republican Caucus and as director of the Office of Economic Research in the Department of Commerce.

Tim Farley is director of community and government relations at Saint Mary’s College. He previously served two terms as a Democratic city councilman in Martinez and was district director for former Democratic Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla ’82. Farley was the Contra Costa Chairman of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns in 1992 and 1996, and was a 1996 Electoral College delegate.

The event, free and open to the public, is moderated by Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Contra Costa Times political editor.

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Super-duper delegate Stark isn’t budging

The feisty Rep. Pete Stark, the Fremont Democrat who frequently says things that even his friends wish he hadn’t said, is keeping his presidential preference to himself.

Like most of the undeclared “super-delegates,” the 796 people who will have a vote in the nomination of the the Democratic Party’s choice for president in Denver in August, Stark is being wooed by both sides. (The super-delegates are members of Congress and the national Democratic Party board.)

But the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama camps have had little success with Stark.

“I’m holding out for a new bridge or maybe even a new federal building,” Stark quipped in a light-hearted moment during a telephone a interview late Thursday. “So far, the biggest bribe I’ve been offered is dessert with Hillary (Clinton) in Washington, D.C. But I don’t eat dessert and I wasn’t available that evening. Is that the best they can do?”

Seriously, though, Stark says he will not endorse either Clinton or Barack Obama unless the delegates are unable to reach a deal on the floor of the convention.

“I think it’s got to be decided by the delegates,” said Stark. “We have millions of new people who participating in the process and they are not, as (California Attorney General) Jerry Brown said, going to put up with a bunch of old people going into a smoke-filed room and making the decision. We’ll disengage them.”

Let the delegates vote at the convention and if neither candidate prevails, then let the “delegates work the floor. Let them swap and bargain and if they can’t make a deal in two or three or four days and we (super-delegates) have to the tie-breakers, then we can do that,” Stark said.

Stark says he will take no part in any advance super-delegate meeting where the plan is to hash out the selection of a nominee prior to the convention. Some Democratic Party activists fear a convention bloodbath will make it harder for the eventual nominee to beat presumed GOP nominee and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

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State releases June 3 certified candidate list

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen today released the certified list of more than 450 candidates who will appear on the June 3 primary election ballot including Congressional, state Senate and Assembly seats up for election.

Each of California’s 53 Congressional seats and 80 State Assembly seats is up for grabs, as are the 20 State Senate seats in odd-numbered districts.

The top vote-getter from each party’s primary will advance to the November 4 general election.

The official certified list of candidates, with ballot designations and contact information for each candidate, is available at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_cand.htm.

According to the state, in the June primary, decline-to-state voters may request an American Independent, Democratic or Republican ballot. Decline-to-state voters who do not request a specific ballot will be given a nonpartisan ballot containing only the two ballot measures, Propositions 98 and 99, and any nonpartisan local races.

The last day to register to vote in the June 3 election is May 19. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is May 27.