Barbara Lee cranks up her re-election campaign…

…as if she needs to.

lee3.jpgI’m not suggesting there shouldn’t be a vigorous campaign for the 9th Congressional District as Lee, 62, seeks another term. Although unopposed in the June 3 primary — she hasn’t faced a primary challenge since 2002, when Kevin Greene tried to capitalize on Lee’s lone vote against the unfettered use of military force after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and got 15 percent of the vote — she’ll face off against Republican Charles Hargrave and Libertarian James Eyer in November.

hargrave.jpgBut even Hargrave and Eyer would surely admit unseating Lee is a longshot. Re-elected with 86.4 percent of the vote in 2006, 84.6 percent in 2004, and 81.5 percent in 2002, she has been getting stronger as she goes. With her having landed a seat on the influential House Appropriations Committee this year, I don’t eyer.jpgsee any sign her constituents are inclined to boot her. And, all that aside, the latest figures show 63 percent of the 9th District’s registered voters are Democrats compared to 9 percent Republicans, 0.4 percent Libertarians and 22 percent decline-to-state.

Anyhow, Lee will hold a campaign-kickoff rally at 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow, Saturday, April 12, at the bandstand in Oakland’s Lakeside Park, joined by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland (her former chief of staff); Oakland R&B artist Goapele; and Oakland’s DJ D Sharp, with hip-hop artist Tony Vic as MC. The free rally also will feature the Prescott Clowns, fun activities for children, a raffle, and a Hula-Hoop tournament.

Later Saturday, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., and actress Alfre Woodard will headline a private gala celebrating Lee’s 10th anniversary in office at the Hilton Oakland Airport Hotel.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.