By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:12 pm in General.
I’ve spent most of the week reporting and writing about the surprise pending opening in congressional District 10, the seat held by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo. My Sunday column focuses on the race plus I have written a longer overview piece budgeted for the Monday paper.
In the meantime, I’ve have posted below some of the information I gathered this week on some of the potential candidates. (Unfortunately, didn’t have space to list them all in print so some of the longshot candidates won’t find their names in the print stories.)
Obviously, many of these people will not run. Others are being recruited. Some of the people whose names I heard didn’t return my calls, which could mean anything from “I’m not ready to talk” to “That’s nuts.” And new names will undoubtedly surface.
But the list thus far offers an illuminating look at the variety of people considering a run for a major public office.
District 10 has an 18-point registration advantage for Democrats, so I have started with the Democratic names followed by the Republicans and an independent. Click through to the jump for the full posting.
State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord — He is the clear front-runner. He secured Tauscher’s endorsement this week along with that of Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and we can expect more endorsements from other party leaders, labor and environmental groups. With this high level of institutional support, which translates into money and volunteers, DeSaulnier will be tough to beat. He says he is definitely running.
Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo — As a woman with an educational background, Buchanan has a built-in advantage at the polls. A telephone survey by her campaign even showed her with a narrow but statistically insignificant lead over an otherwise all-male field. But without Tauscher’s endorsement and the support of many of the traditional Democratic organizations, Buchanan may find it difficult to raise enough cash to wage a competitive campaign. She says she is evaluating her options and hasn’t yet made a decision.
Former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla of Pittsburg, Democrat — He is a renowned moderate who could be a good fit for this centrist district. But he would face the same fundraising problem as Buchanan unless he was able to attract dollars from outside traditional Democratic groups. He hasn’t made a decision.
Former BART Director Dan Richard of Piedmont, Democrat — He is a self-described moderate who helped lead PG&E out of bankruptcy as one of its senior vice presidents. During his BART tenure, he lived in Orinda and Walnut Creek. But he has been out of the political limelight since he left BART in 2004 and could struggle to find enough financial support to be competitive. He hasn’t made a decision.
San Francisco City Attorney’s office investigator Adriel Hampton, Democrat — Hampton has already launched an aggressive online campaign through Twitter, Facebook and his web site. His main target has been DeSaulnier. But despite Hampton’s self-described and apt “Mack truck” approach, he is a longshot candidate. He recently registered as a Democrat after being a decline to state and a Green Party member. And as a progressive candidate, he may be too liberal for the moderate CD10. Hampton says he will raise enough money to be competitive but that remains to be seen. Hampton says he is definitely running.
Scott Talan, independent — He is the former mayor of Lafayette but that was 15 years ago. Since then, Talan has worked around the country as a television reporter and college professor, among other things, and currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area. Talan is a major longshot given the fact that he has lived out of state for so many years. He has not yet made a decision.
Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf, Republican — Rupf may be the Republican’s best chance of a victory given his countywide name recognition, publicly popular occupation and lack of association with prickly partisan politics. The bigger question may be whether or not Rupf wants to run. He says himself that running for Congress is not his idea but so many people have asked him to consider it that he has decided to evaluate the race.
California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, Republican — An attorney by trade, Del Beccaro is a frequent public speaker on political issues and could undeniably hold his own in debates. But as a conservative Republican, the Lafayette resident may be viewed by potential campaign investors as too conservative and too closely aligned with partisan politics to win in this moderate district. Del Beccaro would also have to resign his seat at the party in order to run. He is still evaluating the race and hasn’t made up his mind.
Move America Forward Executive Director and Fairfield City Councilwoman Catherine Moy, Republican — Moy is a sharp and motivated woman with a diverse background that includes work as a journalist and her job as the director fo the national nonprofit Move America Foward, a conservative group that promotes U.S. opposition to terrorism and holds pro-troop events. But as a resident of Fairfield, Moy is unknown in the bulk of the district. And like Del Beccaro, groups that fund campaigns may view her as too conservative to win. On the other hand, she says she isn’t worried about raising money due to her national networks. Moy, wife and mother of a teen-aged daughter, says she is being heavily recruited but is still evaluating the race.
Nick Gerber, Republican — Gerber ran against Tauscher in 2008 and he garnered 31 percent of the vote or about 91,000 votes. He waged a few innovative fundraising schemes but he didn’t have nearly enough cash to wage a serious campaign. As for another bid, Gerber lacks the kind of countywide star power that would attract the kind of money it would take to be competitive. Gerber has said he will run.