Dougherty Valley Republican explores CD10 race

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:



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.


David J. Harmer

Lisa Vorderbrueggen