Tony Amador to launch CD-11 campaign tomorrow

Former U.S. Marshal Antonio C. “Tony” Amador will officially throw his hat into the ring tomorrow to challenge Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, in the 11th Congressional District.

Amador, 65, a Republican, will hold a news conference at the Veteran’s Memorial near Lodi City Hall at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.

He’s touting his life experience as one of 14 children born to Mexican immigrant farm workers, as well as his professional experience from a long law enforcement career: 13 years as a Los Angeles Police Department patrol officer; appointments to various state positions by governors Jerry Brown, George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson; a stint in Washington as Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, the agency overseeing the Executive Branch’s personnel practices (where he was accused of sexual harassment in 1993, later cleared by a White House review); and seven years (ending last month) as U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of California.

“Tony Amador has the real experience and background to represent California’s 11th Congressional District. In comparison, Rep. Jerry McNerney has become one of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s reliable liberal ‘Yes men’ in Congress,” reads the news release that went out today. “At a time when the public’s opinion of Congress remains at an all-time low, the 11th district needs a man like Tony Amador—A Tough Leader for Tough Times.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wasted no time in trying to take Amador down a notch. “Unlike Tony Amador and his other two primary opponents, Jerry McNerney has been working hard on behalf of the people of the 11th District to create jobs, especially through renewable energy, cut taxes for small businesses and get the economy moving again,” said DCCC Western Regional Press Secretary Andy Stone, who himself is a former McNerney spokesman.

Stone’s “other two primary opponents” comment might be an understatement; as Lisa noted in her column this past weekend, there’s a lot of GOP interest in this seat. Other declared or potential candidates include Lodi-area grape grower Brad Goehring; Danville businessman Jon Del Arroz; former San Jose City Councilman Larry Pegram; San Ramon businessman David Bernal; and Lodi-area construction company owner Robert Beetles. I’d bet McNerney believes it’s “the more, the merrier,” as a fractious GOP primary could sap the eventual nominee’s money and momentum for the general election.

Amador’s news release says he and his wife of 44 years live in Lodi, but that’s a relatively recent development – he’s a longtime Sacramento resident. I’m checking now to see when he moved into the 11th District, but it’s basically academic: The Constitution requires a Congressional candidate only to live somewhere within the state, not the district itself. And as a practical matter, it might not have made much difference either – just ask John Garamendi!

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.


  1. “Jerry McNerney has been working hard on behalf of the people of the 11th District to create jobs, especially through renewable energy, cut taxes for small businesses and get the economy moving again. He is also kind to animals and small children and is just generally all-around wonderful.” said DCCC Western Regional Press Secretary Andy Stone, who himself is a former McNerney spokesman.

  2. On the other hand there is nothing like a good primary to warm up the troops before they work in a general election to retire a sitting Congressman!

    I think Mr. Amador is going to unite the conservatives in the 11th Congressional district and then remind the voters in the general election that they did not send someone to Washington to become part of the club that bails out wall street and fast forgets about main street!


  3. Mr.Amador:
    I hope your fuel storage tank is filled, the 11th district is quite large. At $3.50 per gallon that will just about take care of your $162,000 per year job as congressman. This is like no job you ever had,so good luck.

  4. Congressman McNerney hasn’t created jobs, except for himself! He hasn’t improved health care, except for himself. He hasn’t done a thing for our farmers, we still have a major drought.

    But he has supported Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, Obama health care and the bail out of our mortgage companies. I guess he should be relected. Yeah, right.

  5. America Vespucci:
    Why is it that you think a no name candidate like Mr. Amador can do all the things your asking for? Pombo & Mc Closkey spent 30 years between them in congress and did nothing.

    Jerry Mc Nerney will most likely go down as a lame duck congressman. Washington is a hell hole, for anyone that wants to do things. The lobbyist have their hands all over these congressman.

  6. Is drought the right word??

    Our valley is suffering for lack of water not because the rains have not come BUT because the government has shut down the pumps and the radicals won’t allow us to build any more dams…

    A) Jerry has done NOTHING to help on this front

    B) One man, shall we say a “new Sheriff in town” can do a LOT

    If you doubt “B”, just think what those two young kids have done to the mighty ACORN empire.


  7. It’s very difficult for one Congressman, out of 435 members of the House, to make a big impact, especially after only one full term in office. But it is pretty shocking that we elected Jerry McNerney twice already, and “…we still have a major drought…,” as noted above by A. Vespucci. I mean, come on Jerry, make it rain!

    Partisan politics aside, I’ve come to appreciate McNerney’s low-key, self-effacing style; his hard work on behalf of the district, and the constituent service provided by him and his office. His fully justifiable decision to steer clear of the August madness of the Town Howlers notwithstanding, I’ve personally found him eager to reach out to constituents on an individual level. Call his office, and his staff will likely pick up on the first ring, and deal with you in a respectful manner if you do likewise. I just think he is a very decent man. Pretty hard to demonize somebody like that, try as the GOPers will.

  8. It’s nice that McNerney is nice. It’s nice to be nice.

    I’m reminded of Billy Martin’s comment when he became A’s manager: “There are some really nice guys on this team. But I want some sons of bitches that can hit!”

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