Republican Dean Andal will not challenge Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, to a rematch in 2010, instead opting for a job with mega-firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as a director focusing on California tax issues.
“It was a spirited campaign this last time around,” Andal said in an email release. “But Iʼve decided on a different path – one that still gives me an opportunity to stand up for California taxpayers. Although I enjoyed the time I spent with voters, this is the right decision for me and my family right now.”
Andal’s departure is both good and bad news for McNerney.
On the one hand, McNerney will not face a challenger who built up name recognition in the 2008 campaign and could, in theory, use that experience to take advantage of voter backlash against Democrats if the economy remains in the tank.
But it opens up the specter of an unknown Republican opponent whose strengths and weaknesses could be very different than those of Andal, a conservative with strong anti-tax record who nevertheless suffered from the anti-GOP sentiment that swept the country last November.
McNerney won the seat in a major upset in 2006, beating veteran Republican Richard Pombo. McNerney rode on the Barack Obama wave in 2008 and easily beat Andal last November.
It’s a safe bet that the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, which has already been running anti-McNerney ads in the district, either has someone in mind or they are rattling the bushes in search of a viable challenger.