Jerry McNerney endorses Barack Obama

mcnerneyportrait.jpgI just got off the phone with Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, who said he is now throwing his support as a Democratic National Convention superdelegate to Barack Obama.

“I had made a commitment to stay out of it until after the primaries, I think that was a good thing to do… but on the other hand it’s now clear Senator Obama is going to be the nominee, and I think he’s going to be a great nominee for the party.”

Democrats in McNerney’s district in February voted 54.1 percent for Clinton, 39.9 percent for Obama. McNerney in early March told the San Francisco Chronicle he would “make a decision when I have to… I’m going to let the voters decide for themselves.

“I wanted to wait and let the process play out, but I don’t have any reservations,” he told me tonight. “According to the primary process, Senator Obama won fair and square over Senator Clinton with the number of pledged delgatges, and now I think it’s time for the party to come together behind the candidate.”

McNerney said he has seen and heard an amazing outpouring of interest in and support for Obama in recent months. “Even in my district I think there’s a watershed change of support for him, so I have no reservations at all.”

He said he spoke with both candidates as he made up his mind. “I sat down with Senator Clinton I guess about two weeks ago… I really admire what she’s done. She has run a very good campaign and she’s tough and she has good policies… but Senator Obama won fair and square and I can truly say I’m delighted to support him.”

He said he spoke with Obama as well, reminding the candidate of his own background as a wind-energy consultant, and they agreed to confer on clean energy initiatives. “He basically said he’d be looking forward to working with me and looking for my input.”

McNerney — a first-term incumbent who unseated House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, in a district with a shrinking Republican registration edge — is unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face former Assemblyman and Board of Equalization member Dean Andal of Stockton in November; the National Repbulican Congressional Committee has rated him among its top targets.

Oh, and Congressman? Sorry about the haiku.

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.