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Andal bows out of congressional rematch

Dean Andal

Dean Andal

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.

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Name the Newsom baby

What kind of political blog would we be if we didn’t invite suggestions for what San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel, should name their forthcoming progeny? A serious blog, you say? Naaaaah.

Feel free to add your suggestions as comments; here are a few to get us started:

  • Oldham
  • Arnold
  • Cash” (or, “Care”)
  • Alex
  • Hillary
  • PlumpJack” (“Jack,” for short)
  • Whetheryoulikeitornot” (“Wheth,” for short)
  • Governor
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    Torrico to launch campaign for Attorney General

    Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico says he’ll formally announce Monday his candidacy for state Attorney General in 2010.

    “As Majority Leader I’ve been involved with the budget more than ever before… and in these last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about where the state is,” Torrico, D-Newark, told me a few minutes ago. “Our state is clearly going in the wrong direction, we’ve got some challenges ahead of us, were going to spend more on prisons than on higher education in two years.”

    “We need to have a new conversation in California about what our priorities are, and the Attorney General is an office that should impact law enforcement… and also a wide range of other issues I’m passionate about,” from civil rights to consumer rights and beyond, he said.

    Torrico joins a 2010 Democratic primary field for AG already consisting of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris – already hard at work raising money from many of the same deep-pocketed donors with whom she rubbed elbows during the Obama campaign – and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo (who ran against Jerry Brown in the 2006 primary).

    Other Assembly Democrats reportedly considering runs for AG in 2010 include Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.

    Torrico said he has a “broad vision for the direction the state needs to go in,” having been not only a legislative champion of law enforcement and public safety but also of creating middle class jobs; the Attorney General, he notes, has a big impact on California’s business climate.

    And from a political standpoint, he said, he enters the race with $650,000 cash on hand – a sum far in excess of any of the other contenders, and a good down payment on a race that could cost $5 million or more. “If you look at the reports over the past four years, you see I have the track record of being able to raise the money,” he said.

    More after the jump…
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    Tauscher reintroduces ship safety bill

    As the National Transportation Safety Board conducts its final hearing on the Cosco Busan oil spill in the San Francisco Bay last year, Rep. Ellen Tauscher has reintroduced a bill that would authorize federal officials to mandate that bar pilots carry their own up-to-date navigation devices.

    Click here to read a story in today’s Times about the hearing.

    Here is Tauscher’s statement issued a few minutes ago:

    The NTSB has confirmed that the pilot should not have permitted the Cosco Busan to leave the dock given a heavy fog and his impaired judgment. While his condition raises serious issues about the night in question, at a minimum we should require pilots of tanker and cargo ships to have the most up to date and modern navigation devices and equipment to prevent future accidents.”

    Last week, Rep. Tauscher re-introduced H.R. 1100, the Vessel Navigation and Safety Improvement Act. This bill authorizes the Coast Guard to require that marine bar pilots carry their own navigation devices, known as Portable Pilot Units, when operating the largest container and tanker ships.

    In the last Congress, this bill was included in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2007. The House approved the bill 395 to 7 on April 24, 2008.

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    Karen Bass, Darrell Steinberg on the budget deal

    Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles:

    State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento: