Part of the Bay Area News Group

Dougherty Valley Republican explores CD10 race

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, April 9th, 2009 at 1:05 pm in Congress, Congressional District 10, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

Attorney David Harmer, son of Reagan author, former California lieutenant governor and Southern California state legislator John Harmer, confirmed a few minutes ago via phone that he is exploring a run for Congress in the seat held by outgoing Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo.

And no, Harmer does not sound crazy, which some say is the only reason a Republican would consider a bid in a district where Democrats hold an 18-point registration advantage.

Harmer, a 46-year-old husband and father of four young children, is a former vice president and assistant general counsel at Washington Mutual Bank. He lost his job in January when the bank failed, although Harmer said he worked in the bank’s successful credit card division.

“There is a pervasive sense of unease about how the Obama and Bush administrations responded to imprudent behavior in the private sector by allowing profits to remain privatized while socializing losses,” Harmer said. “… I don’t see that as a partisan issue. I perceive the failures (of government) as thoroughly bipartisan.”

Sure, Harmer has heard what eight out 10 political consultants have said about a Republican’s chances of winning in CD10, chiefly that it will take a celebrity with bipartisan appeal, a lot of money and a big dose of luck. Harmer is neither famous nor wealthy.

“We’re not going to win in this district by snowing people into thinking that our celebrity is more popular than their politician,” Harmer said.

As for the consultants’ advice, Harmer says these are the same people telling him he will need $2 million to mount a competitive campaign.

“Not coincidentally, the consultants earn a percentage of what is spent on the campaign,” Harmer added.

Another sign that Harmer is playing with a full deck is that he knows how congressional campaigns work. He managed the campaign of a successful Utah congressional candidate in the early 1990s and then in 1996 ran for the seat himsel.

“If I run, it will be because I think I can thread the needle,” Harmer said.

And there is Harmer’s political family background. His dad, John, was a California Assemblyman from the Glendale area from 1966 to 1974. Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed him lieutenant governor when Edwin Reinecke resigned in 1974 but Harmer senior was unable to win the seat in the next election. John Harmer wrote a book in 2002 called “Reagan: Man of Principle.”

Harmer says he will make a decision based on whether he views himself as the Republican with the best chance of success in the field and whether he will have enough funds to run a campaign — about $250,000, he figures.

Read more for David Harmer’s recent email to potential supporters:

Dear Friends,

Thank you for joining us Monday night to hear my father share some of his experiences with Governor Reagan.  Many guests asked how to obtain his book, Reagan:  Man of Principle.  New copies are still available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble at the links below:

http://www.amazon.com/Reagan-Man-Principle-John-Harmer/dp/1555176194

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Reagan+Man+of+Principle+John+Harmer

Many guests also asked how soon I would run for office – and without waiting for an answer, several volunteered to help!  Honored by that vote of confidence, I have some news to share.

Elayne and I live in the 10th congressional district, which Ellen Tauscher has represented since 1996.  Congresswoman Tauscher recently announced her intention to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives to accept an appointment in the State Department.  A special election to fill the vacancy will be held later this year.  With the encouragement of many good people who are hungry for principled and passionate representation, I am seriously considering offering myself as a candidate.

In evaluating the race, I’m consulting with a wide variety of opinion leaders, both local and national.  Before making a final decision, I still need to touch base with some important people here in the district.  But I’m gratified by the support my expression of interest has already generated, and I’m excited by the opportunity to campaign for limited government and unlimited opportunity – precisely the opposite of what Washington’s generating now.

A month ago, when my parents offered to visit us this past weekend, we had no idea that a vacancy was imminent.  When I invited Dad to speak to you and began organizing the event, I had no expectation of becoming a candidate for any office.  But opportunity, preparation, resources, and support have begun to align in a miraculous way.

To proceed, I’ll need strong support from friends like you.  Obviously this isn’t my campaign; it’s ours.  I’m just the spokesman for the principles and values that we share.  I look forward to working together.  Let me know how you’d like to get involved.

Cordially,

David J. Harmer
HarmerDavidJ@gmail.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidharmer

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  • R. Abramson

    I have known David for a long time in a professional capacity (and also consider him a friend). How fortunate the 10th District would be to have a Congressman like David representing it. He is one of the most astute, articulate, inspiring and, most importantly, honest and trustworthy, people that I’ve come across in many years of business. It is going to take people like David to restore our faith in politics and in Congress. Let’s all hope and pray that David makes the wise decision to run and then win the election. We will all be better off as a result!

  • http://jordenburt.com Elizabeth Bohn

    David is bright, hard working, and highly principled. We need more like him in DC.

  • Joan Hamblin

    I attended the event last weekend to listen to John Harmer, but I was wowed by the articulate David Harmer who introduced his father. John Harmer is one of the most charismatic, brilliant, honest politicians I have known in California (I have lived here all my lengthy life except for a few years in Texas and Utah) and I know that David is cut from the same cloth. I will work hard to help David Harmer get elected.

  • Guy Gardner

    It would be great to have David as our Representative. I have no hesitation in backing him!

  • David Eccles

    I have know David Harmer for some six years and have had the pleasure to be in his and Elaine’s home many times. He is a warm, bright, articulate, energenic man of integrity. He would be an excellent congressman who would bring principled leadership to Washington.

  • Janet Gunson

    I only wish David Harmer lived in my district! I know he will be ethical and work as hard as he possibly can on the behalf of his constituents.

  • Grant Pace

    I have known David for too many years to count. I have long marveled at his clearheaded political insights and his penchant for action. I have repeatedly urged him to run for public office where he is so desperately needed, now as never before. CD10, California, Washington D.C. and a suffering nation will all benefit from David’s talented and principled leadership. David, you may count on my financial support to the full extent permissible. I urge anyone anxious about the current state of affairs, within or without CD10, to do the same.

  • Don Padalis

    What a wonderful announcement. I too have known David for a long time. There is no finer example of integrity, honor and dedication than David Harmer.
    We a fortunate that people of this caliber will still step up to undertake such a thankless job. You Go Dave!

  • Travis Donaldson

    Dave Harmer is a class act. He is a man of character. He is competent and honest. He is a great father and husband. He is the exact opposite of most political clones–which is why he is perfect for this assigment.

  • S. Askew

    I’ve known Dave since law school. I also worked with him a few years ago in Utah. CD10 would be fortunate if he decides to run. Dave is an accomplished author on important topics such as school choice and gun rights. When we worked together, I experienced first-hand how widely respected he is in political circles. Congressional candidates in Utah wouldn’t run until they checked with Dave first to make sure he wasn’t running and whether they had his support. Once, there was a strong effort made to recruit Dave to challenge a sitting Republican governor in convention. Many believe he would have been successful had he agreed. I remember an acquaintance telling me, in awe, that Dave was his political hero. Go ahead and thread the needle, then use it to poke Washington!

  • Doug Fuller

    I have known David for almost a decade. I worked with him back in pre-WaMu Providian days. He has an extraordinary mind, is incredibly well-read and most importantly can grasp the nuances of impact that result from policy decisions. I would be thrilled to have David representing me in congress.

  • Kevin McCarthy

    David Harmer is exactly the type of principled, fiscally disciplined representative we need in Washington. He has the experience we need now to work through the economic troubles that are holding our great country back.

    He has my full endorsement.

  • Jay E. Gonsalves

    In my capacity as president of ACA International, Inc., the association of credit and collection professionals, I have worked closely with David and have counted on his leadership and counsel on many important matters. He has played a major role in many of our initiatives and I wish him all the best in this endeavor. As with our association’s members, his constituents will be well served. Good luck, David.

  • Dale Carson

    I’ve also had the pleasure of knowing David in the work world, and I’ve found him to be a down-to-earth, caring person who thinks and communicates clearly. Congress will be improved by his presence, in my opinion. I wish him success!

  • Dan

    Dave Harmer would be an outstanding congressman and the people of the 10th CD would be fortunate to have him representing them.

  • Guy Gardner

    I just had to add:

    We all realize that greed, the uncontrolled desire to ever expand, to continually get and control more, is the underlying factor behind the current financial collapse. Individuals, banks and government were all complicit.

    Yet the ‘fix’ being imposed on the Country repeats that same mistake but on an even larger scale! The government expands to control and influence more while borrowing heavily, way beyond its means. Incredibly, the ‘fix’ also enables more individuals, already deep in debt, to borrow even more.

    This direction is extremely dangerous and needs to be corrected quickly!

    I have confidence that David will work hard with others in Congress to inject sound fiscal responsibility back into Government.

  • http://ibuzz.com Michael F. Day

    I worked with David for eight years at Providian/WaMu. The Bay area would be very fortunate to have Dave working for it in Congress. If you want an honest, intelligent, principled representative, David’s your man. He is a passionate advocate for limited government, but he’s also the type of warm, friendly person who can work with those of all political stripes to get things done.

  • Katrina Christakis

    I am a democrat, but would vote for David in a heartbeat because he is a brilliant and compassionate leader who advocates his principles while welcoming healthy debate. California needs David, but Washington needs him more.

  • Dale Lock

    David and I were colleagues for 8 years, and I consider him to be my friend. He is intelligent, articulate, decent, and, most importantly, principled and of high moral character. He would make a great Representative.

  • Astrid Gossett

    I have not known David for very long, but am impressed with his ability to look at both sides of an issue and reach an honest, logical, and well-articulated opinion. I will support him in any run for office. Someone of his caliber will be in a minority in Washington.

  • Robert and Helen Wells

    We have known David Harmer for over 16 years in many roles: a banker, a lawyer, and as a candidate for public office; as a dedicated father and husband, unspotted by any scandal of any kind. In every instance, he has proven to be the quintessential personification of integrity, character, experience, wisdom, balance that is sorely needed in this time, this season of crisis.
    We are not from California, but we are willing to put all we can on the altar to support such a man whom we believe has been prepared over the years for such a time as this.

  • Ronald Frye

    I know David to be a man of integrity, great wisdom, and a sharp wit. He is extremely capable and would be a superb leader in our California government. I’d vote for him in a heartbeat.

    Unfortunately, good and honest people are usually not elected to office any more, rather those with extensive financial backing, backroom deals with political machine scoundrels, or questionable moral values. Today’s successful political candidate succeeds by “promising the moon” to the ingnorant masses who hope to get something for nothing. I’ve known other good and honest men, some of whom were quite prominent, but whose chances of winning office were “less than a snowball’s chance in hell”, not because of their lack of honesty or integrity, but because today’s Americans lack the common sense and education to elect the right man to the office. They wallow in the mire of ignorance, bogotry and superstition.

    But good luck, Dave, if you decide to run. You’ve got my vote.

  • Larry Wilson

    David is the kind of person we need in public service today. There are few like him: honest, smart, principled, intelligent and articulate, concerned about the welfare of the individual and the broader society. Let’s get him elected!

  • Micah McOwen

    Good luck David. I’ll be cheering you on from the East coast. California deserves representation from the likes of you.

  • Rob Twilley

    David is one of the most intelligent, articulate, and friendly lawyers you’ll meet. His decisions are always well informed and moral. Regardless of what party you’re affiliated with, you can trust David to always do what’s right for the community.

  • David Van Blerkom

    I agree with everything I have read above (I am only sorry it took me so long to get to this article and comment board – I have been travelling). I echo the thoughts that we desperately need more like David Harmer in leadership positions in our state and nation, and look forward to adding my vote, and I hope that others will do the same!

  • Wendy Badger

    I have known David in a professional capacity for many years. It is my honor to call him a colleague and friend. David’s intelligence, integrity, wisdom and unfailing principles are exactly the qualities we should have in office. David will make an oustanding representative for California, no matter which side of the political spectrum you happen to fall.

    Good luck, David!

  • Elizabeth Morgan

    California needs David Harmer. I have known him for more than 20 years – a man of high principles and high intelligence, energetic, practical in solving problems including critical ones such as we face in this economic crisis, outstanding judgement, absolute integrity, fabulous human being. He will help Californians, regardless of any other considerations. Rarely do voters get the chance to vote for someone who will represent them so well.

  • Jim Davis

    Go David! I know his younger brother Chris very well. I am sure that any member of the Harmer family would not only speak the truth and put forth his best effort, but he would also pack the competence to do an outstanding job.

  • Aina Konold

    We need someone like David to represent us in Washington — principled, intelligent, and fiscally responsible. You can count on our support!

  • Mark Davitt

    Exciting news, and precisely what we need in our country’s legislative branch right now. I have known David for many years and he truly is the right person for representative government. As a human being, David is a loving husband, a caring father and an appreciative son. As a participating and contributing citizen, David possesses the valuable attributes of critical thought, articulate expression and principled values. And most importantly, David is in touch with the real world. Again, David is the right person at the right time. Exciting!

  • K Sheppard

    As I watch our current lawmakers struggle with the current financial crisis, I never cease to be amazed at their lack of understanding of our country’s financial system. An experienced attorney with a Financial Services background would be a tremendous addition to America’s legislative branch.

    Exciting news, indeed.

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  • Kanwar Singh

    I have known David as a soccer coach for my daughter, an excellent neighbor and as father of wonderful kids. I have not come across a more principled person. He is excellent guide and has a wealth of qualifications for this race. I am a registered democrat-hey, when it comes to David I care less and want to support this wonderful person. Best Wishes and may god be with you.

  • Sandee Wiedemann

    I voted for David Harmer. It is exciting that we can elect him on Sept. 1 if he receives 51% of the vote! No run offs. Let’s remind our freedom-loving neighbors to VOTE and to remind their friends! Every vote is needed.

  • Carol M. Hehmeyer

    I voted for David Harmer too. I am also down here at headquarters working for him as a volunteer on the phone banks every single day. I am excited too that he can win with 50% of the vote plus just one more. If we can elect him in the special election, the District will be SO lucky. He is a man of immense integrity, principle, and intelligence. My husband, a registered Democrat, also voted for him! This is a chance for our District to have an excellent representative in Washington DC.

  • Arne Simonsen

    All the Simonsen household votes are going for David Harmer!!!