By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 3:22 pm in Congressional District 10.
The first nonpartisan candidate has officially declared as a candidate for the 10th Congressional District. Check out Gino VanGundy’s web site at www.GinoVanGundy.com.
VanGundy, a 38-year-old Fairfield resident, tells an interesting story of a troubled childhood in foster homes, how he found his life partner and the couple’s heartwarming adoption of a daughter and soon, a son.
The other potential nonpartisan candidate is Scott Talan, a former Lafayette mayor who says he may return — he lives in the Washington, D.C. area– to run for the seat, is still exploring it.
How do you run for Congress as a nonpartisan candidate in a special election and perhaps more important, why would you do it?
Let’s start with the rules.
All congressional candidates, partisan and nonpartisan, must be at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least seven years and a resident of California when elected. There is no requirement to live in the congressional district.
To run as a nonpartisan, a candidate cannot have been affiliated with a political party for three months. The candidate must gather approximately 1,000 signatures from registered voters in the district in which the candidate is running.
Like the partisan candidates, all the nonpartisan hopefuls will appear on a single, primary ballot where voters may choose among them. But unlike the partisan candidates, where only the top vote-getter will appear on a run-off ballot, all nonpartisan candidates advance to the run-off. (This assumes there is a run-off. Any candidate can win the seat outright in the primary if he or she receives 50 percent plus one of the vote.)
As to why one would run as an unaffiliated candidate when they almost never win, here is the strategy of one potential candidate eying the seat who has not come out publicly: Let the Democrats beat each other to a bloody pulp in the primary, which will leave a self-funded nonpartisan option unscathed and, in theory, desirable to disgruntled moderates of both major parties and decline to state voters.
It’s an interesting theory.
Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, is expected to resign upon confirmation as the U.S. Senate as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security. The hearing date has not been set although the rumor mill is mumbling about a date shortly after Memorial Day.
As soon as Tauscher resigns, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has 14 days to set an election date which must fall within 112 to 126 days. A primary would be held eight weeks prior to that date. (I looked at the calendar and if Tauscher resigned June 1 and the governor used the maximum amount of time to make a decision, a primary would take place in mid to late August and a run-off, if needed, would happen in mid to late October.)
For those keeping track, read on for an updated list of the 14 declared and potential CD10 candidates:
Declared their intent to run:
Democrats – Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo; Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; Lt. Gov. John Garamendi of Walnut Grove; San Francisco Attorney’s Office investigator Adriel Hampton of Dublin; and Fairfield native Anthony Woods.
Nonpartisan – Fairfield resident Gino VanGundy
Green Party – Diablo Valley Community College political science professor Jeremy Cloward of Pleasant Hill.
Evaluating their options:
Democrats – Former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla of Pittsburg. (Former BART Director Dan Richard says he will not run.)
Nonpartisan – Scott Talan, former Lafayette mayor now living in Washington, D.C., area
Republicans – Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf of Martinez; 2008 GOP nominee Nick Gerber of Moraga; California GOP Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette; Fairfield Councilwoman and executive director of Move America Forward Catherine Moy; and attorney David Harmer of Dougherty Valley.