California GOP may endorse in CD10 race

UPDATE: The California GOP unanimously endorsed David Harmer in the 10th Congressional District over the other five Republicans running in the special primary election on Sept. 1.

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring has called a Tuesday morning teleconference meeting of the party’s board of directors to consider whether to endorse one of the six Republicans running in the 10th Congressional District special primary election.

The board has invited the candidates to participate in an interview process, as the party’s bylaws require, and it takes a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors to secure the party’s nod.

The GOP, for example, recently endorsed Teresa Martinez, one of several unsuccessful Republican candidates in the District 32 special election to replace Hilda Solis of Los Angeles, who now serves as the U.S. Labor Secretary under President Barack Obama. (Democrat Judy Chu was elected to the seat earlier this month.)

Primary endorsements raises hackles among some Republicans, who consider the practice antithetical to the democratic process. Critics within the Contra Costa Republican Party are already upset over several incidents they say demonstrate illegal favorable treatment of District 10 candidate David Harmer of San Ramon. (Some members of the committee have filed a complaint with the Secretary of State and Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office alleging this and other violations.)

This is an issue where democratic ideals smack up against reality.

Parties endorse in special primaries as a strategy designed to help elevate a viable candidate from among a field that often contains a mix of well-meaning but utterly unprepared people who have little chance of winning against a well-funded opponent in the general election. Special primaries are blanket primaries, where all candidates of all party affilitions appear on the same ballot. Any single candidate could win the election outright in the primary with a majority vote. (Clarification in underlined text added Monday morning. LAV)

At this point, less than four weeks before the Sept. 1 election, Harmer is the only GOP candidate who has raised money. As such, he is realistically the one candidate with a chance of competing against what will be a very well funded Democratic opponent in a district where Democrats have an 18 percentage point registration advantage.

On the other hand, the party risks alienating members who favor other candidates and may feel excluded from the process. They may not feel too warm and fuzzy about volunteering or donating money in the general election.

Party involvement through an endorsement carries even more significance in a special election, where all the candidates appear on the same ballot regardless of party designation and a candidate who receives a majority vote in the primary can win the seat outright.

Political strategists have said for months that the only chance the GOP has of victory in District 10 was to rally around a single, well-known and popular candidate. Local Republicans had hoped Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf would run but he declined, leaving the party with six unknown political novices.

Read more for the full list of the Republican candidates and their Web sites.


Chris Bunch of Fairfield

Building contractor

Web site: http://www.bunch4congress.com

Gary Clift of Vacaville

Retired peace officer and manager for the California Department of Corrections

Web site: http://www.cliftforcongress.com/

David Harmer of Dougherty Valley

Former vice president and in-house counsel, Washington Mutual Bank

Web site: http://www.harmerforcongress.com/

Mark Loos of Livermore

Owner, PC Solutions

Web site: http://www.loosforchange.com/

David Peterson of Walnut Creek

Accountability system owner

Web site: http://www.davidpetersonforcongress.com

John Toth of Pleasant Hill


Web site: (scheduled to go live by Sunday) http://www.johntothforcongress.com/

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Congratulations on an excellent news story summary of the CD 10 race. You covered the most important points and displayed depth of knowledge about the political process. It seemed to be unbiased, from where I stand. One point: while you might think that no one is home at the end of August, please remember school starts during August, so parents of school age children will be back from vacation and getting back into the daily grind before September 1st. Community college starts August 17-yeah, oh my gosh summer is almost over, what happened to it?

  • bjd

    This is a perfect example of why the GOP can’t win in this area… you have republicans that don’t want to endorse the guy with 200,000$, they would rather wait and see if the guy with 3 grand can beat the democrats…

  • Mike F.

    Vote for someone just because their account balance is large. This is what is wrong with politics today. More money does mean more outreach materials and venues, but it doesn’t mean they are better.

  • Jesse L.

    Bill Gates for Congress!

  • BJD

    No, the “better” man can’t make it to Washington anymore. When it comes to our system, when you have a district like CD-10 (D+11, 19 point down in voter registration), you have to have a decent amount of money to be competitive.

    Now it’s really cute that you have principles and an opinion that needs to be heard, but it naïve or even worse ignorant, to believe a conservative Republican with no money can be competitive in a moderate Democratic district.

    Harmer is the R’s only shot and that’s a LONG shot.

  • I hope to see the CRP Board of Dirctors endorse all six Republican candidates in the primary election! To do anything else would be counter-productive to the over all mission and the free market principles of a primary election, which is to have tough competition between all of the candidates involved to ensure that the best possible candidate moves on to the general election to face the Democratis nominee.

    The Alameda County GOP supports all six Republican candidates in the running. Is the CRP Board prepared to say that they don’t support all six? Better yet, does the CRP believe in representation? Because Alameda County is one of four counties that makes up CD-10, therefore, our position should be considered by the CRP Board when deciding which candidate they will endorse.

  • Mike F.

    Its “cute that you have principles and an opinion.” This what everyone should have. Its “naïve or even worse ignorant, to believe a conservative Republican with no money can be competitive in a moderate Democratic district.” Geez, did I say to support a conservative Republican? Maybe the guy with $200K is what the Demo’s want, perhaps someone with $3K is the better threat. Perhaps Republicans should throw behind Garamendi. No, what the voter should do is become informed, then make the best choice for them – that’s being an American. I have hope that people don’t vote based on junk mailers and billboards.

  • bjd

    It’s great that you are willing to stand by your “principles” but again, you are showing a lack of knowledge when it comes to District 10.

    A vast majority of people who stand by their “principles” in this arena lose and lose big.

    All the Republicans besides Harmer are “Conservative” besides Mr. Loos, a good guy, but doesn’t have the money or organization to beat Adriel Hampton let alone one of the big three.

    I can’t remember the last time a candidate who had three grand, no staff, could be called a “threat”… maybe in “principle” land where you can ride unicorns and swim in giant lakes of chocolate.

  • Mike F.

    Unicorns, don’t they graze in Berkeley?

  • BJD

    I do believe the Unicorns are grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free, and yes have been known to graze in Berkeley.

    That was also funny, Mr. Mike.

  • LMAO

    Hey Walter,
    For someone holding an official title for the Alameda GOP, you should know that the election on Sept. 1, is not a primary, it is a special general. If any candidate got 50% +1 vote, they would be on their way to DC the next day. If, as is likely, no candidate reached that vote count there will be a run-off. Given that, why wouldn’t the CA GOP consider endorsing a candidate? I surely wouldn’t be taking the advise of the great electoral victory machine that is Alameda County if I was Ron and his cronies, but then again, Ron doesn’t have a record of victory.