CD10: Harmer says poll shows him ahead of Garamendi

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Democrat

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Democrat

David Harmer, Republican

David Harmer, Republican

UPDATE 8:28 AM FRIDAY: I finally connected with Harmer chief campaign consultant Tim Clark last night (he was in an all-day conference) and he had some interesting additional information about his candidate’s poll. See the updated information in italics in the entry below.

Tenth Congressional District GOP candidate David Harmer touted a new poll in a fundraising email he sent out this week he says shows him beating Democrat Lt. Gov. John Garamendi 49 percent to 32 percent among voters who have heard of both candidates.

The survey of 450 likely voters also concluded that when respondents were asked whether they intended to vote for a generic Republican or Democrat, the GOP candidate received 40 percent compared with 44 percent for the Democrat. And it showed Harmer ahead among decline-to-state voters 40 percent to 26 percent.

That sound you hear is Garamendi laughing. Loudly.

“That’s not what my polling shows,” Garamendi said. “Look, this is a poll designed to raise money from the Republican base. It has no bearing on reality. If the Republicans think the Democrats are just going to sit back and go to sleep in this election, they are wrong. There is no way I am going to let that happen.”

The poll does seem, well, to put it nicely, a tad delusional.

The lieutenant governor has overwhelming name identification in a congressional district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 18 percentage points. Harmer is a political unknown likely to raise just a fraction of the money that his opponent will collect.

However, a reputable survey firm, Wilson Research out of Washington, D.C., conducted the telephone poll commissioned jointly by Harmer and the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. It was conducted Sept. 23-24 and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent. The email solicitation features the name of well-known Republican fundraiser and Harmer campaign finance director Kristin Hueter.

Harmer chief political consultant Tim Clark said the poll numbers do not indicate his client has suddenly become the frontrunner. In fact, in a direct match-up between the men among all those questioned in the survey (not just those who have heard of both candidates), Harmer is down 6 1/2 percentage points, Clark said.

“Our client is in the hunt, that’s what we are saying,” Clark said.

Clark points to the shift in the generic ballot, where those surveyed were asked, “If the election were held today, would you vote for a Republican or Democrat?” In August, their internal polling showed the split at 52 percent Democrat and 29 percent Republican. This polls shows the split at 44 percent Democrat, 40 percent Republican.

“John Garamendi has to be worried about this shift,” Clark said.

Clark also says the poll also shows that 30 percent of those surveyed have a negative view of Garamendi, the result of a tough primary where his Democratic opponents spent thousands of dollars painting him as a carpet-bagging opportunist. (Garamendi lives just outside the District 10 line in Walnut Grove and dropped his faltering governor’s campaign in order to run for Congress.)

Harmer supporters say public sentiment is shifting away from Democrats such as Garamendi who support a public health insurance option. They correctly point out that Harmer beat Garamendi among ballots cast on Election Day on Sept. 1.

I’m not buying that last argument, though.  Just one out of every four votes cast on Sept. 1 in Contra Costa County, which comprises the largest segment of the 10th District, took place on Election Day. Everyone else in Contra Costa County voted by mail, where Harmer placed third behind state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord. (In all votes cast the 10th District, which includes portions of four counties, Harmer came in second place: Garamendi, 27,580 votes or 25.7 percent; Harmer, 22,582 votes or 21 percent; DeSaulnier, 18,888 votes. or 17.6 percent)

Turnout at the Nov. 3 special general election will very likely reflect a similar if not higher percentage of votes by mail. Voting by mail starts Monday.

Read on for the full content of Harmer’s fundraiser email:

With the CD 10 Special Election to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher only 34 days away, we have exciting news to report: Republican candidate David Harmer has pulled even in the polls with liberal Democrat opponent, John Garamendi. Garamendi is being dragged down by the Democrats in Congress and Nancy Pelosi in particular, whose unfavorable rating in the District is a whopping 70%.

To ensure David’s victory, our strategy will cost approximately $265,000 to $290,000 which we need to raise and collect in the next 18 days. Here is the breakdown of how any monies raised will be spent:

    1. Voter contact: voter mail, absentee ballot outreach & GOTV phones  (Total: $165,000)
    2. Television, radio & online media (Total: $125,000 )
    3. Ground operation: volunteer mobilization, yard signs, brochures & door hangers  (Total: $  25,000)

Your support in this Special Election right now will solidly help make the difference between sending a Republican or another Democrat to Washington. Thanks in advance for helping us reclaim this seat and send a desperately needed fiscal conservative to Washington.

Kindly visit www.harmerforcongress.com to make an immediate contribution


Make checks payable to “Friends of David Harmer

2000 Powell St., Suite 1250, Emeryville, CA  94608

FEC ID# C00461657

Harmer Closes the Gap in CD10

² As of Monday, Sept. 28th David Harmer has just pulled dead even with his opponent. Generic ballot has shifted dramatically to 40% Republican, 44% Democratic, as compared to 29% Republican, 52% Democratic in August.  When adjusted for likely turnout that ballot number moves to dead even.

²     John Garamendi is carrying a significant 30% negative in this District, evidence of a damaging primary election.

² Among those voters who have heard of both candidates, Harmer is winning by a substantial 49% to 32% for Garamendi. This means, if Harmer gets his message out, he wins by a comfortable margin.

² Harmer is also leading among Decline-to-State voters by a margin of 40% for Harmer, 26% for Garamendi.

Please contact: Kristin Hueter, Finance Director, Harmer for Congress

Phone: 510.420.1199 / Fax: 510.420.1551 / khueter@khueter.com

Contributions to Friends of David Harmer are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle. An individual may contribute up to $2,400 for the primary election and up to $2,400 for the general election. Federal multi-candidate PACs may contribute up to $5,000 for each election. Contributions by foreign nationals, corporations and minors prohibited.

This communication is paid for by Friends of David Harmer, Inc.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Tom Benigno

    Polls can’t be trusted, the real truth will come when the final votes are counted. Most likely the tort reform will make some new rules that will sway the election.

    It’s nothing new for you know who,to change the rules in the middle of the election. We want the winner to be a full time congressman, not a part time social climber.
    We wish the winner well.

  • Elwood

    Yeah, right!

    And if you believe that, I have a really nice bridge, recently updated and remodeled, between Benicia and Martinez which I would like to sell you.

  • If a paper runs that Harmer wins, I expect that the next column would read:
    “Aliens release body of Jesus”

  • 4Antioch

    Lisa, it was Mark DeSaulnier who came in 3rd (18,888 votes).

    Garamendi lead with 27.580 votes and David Harmer was in second place with 22,582 votes.

    Source: http://www.ss.ca.us (Secretary of State’s website).

  • 4Antioch

    Opps, the Secretary of State’s Web address is

  • Dan

    Garamendi, a major reason California is going down the drain, sounds smug, fat and happy in his perpetual race for yet another office, in a district he doesn’t even live in. Let’s hope the voters of the 10th CD surprise him and elect a real leader to Congress: David Harmer.

  • Allen Payton

    What Lisa wrote is DeSaulnier came in third in the absentee votes:
    “Everyone else voted by mail, where Harmer placed third behind state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord.”

  • Allen Payton

    If we keep electing the same people over and over, don’t get new blood into the system, then we’ll keep getting the same government we have and all the problems that go with it.
    New blood, new faces, new ideas.
    Garamendi’s Gotta Go.
    Help Harmer.

  • John W.

    Although I want Democrats to hold the seat, the over-confidence, bordering on arrogance, is disturbing. It’s a good way to lose.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Harmer will get at least 450 votes on Election Day.

  • Relatively

    the plus/minus of the poll was 4.5 that is huge. Most polls are around 3-3.5 so this usually means this poll is unreliable. they should have spent more money getting more people to participate in the poll

    Garamendi probably has a 15-20 point advantage and the pollsters figured they could skew the numbers if they limited the number of participants and targeted who they were calling.

  • BJD

    Garamendi has a 19 point advantage.

    If you look out your window and see a Unicorn, Harmer has a chance!

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Pollster: Do you favor Garamendi or Harmer?
    Polled: Harm who?

  • steve weir

    We’ll know the “real poll” soon enough. Actual voting begins today (Monday, October 5th.)for the November 3rd Special Vacancy Election.

    To those who are permanent vote-by-mail voters in Contra Costa, Your ballot will be mailed today. Those who have requested their vote-by-mail ballot from our sample ballot mailing, can expect your ballot this week as well.

  • Tom K

    Obama got 65% in the district in 2008. 64.4% of the votes in the primary we’re cast for Democrats. The tectonic shift in voter allegiance these numbers clearly represent should make Garamendi into an insomniac!

    Does anyone else fully comprehence that at this rate, Garamendi could lose as early at the 2026 midterm election.

    Thanks to Lisa V for calling the Harmer spin for what it is.

  • Tom K

    Garmendi’s margin will be no less than 20% and could increase given looming success on the health care bill and the clownish gamesmanship of the Republican’s nationally.

  • Tom K

    Lest we forget, these are the same people who brought us “W” and Sarah “wingnut” Palin.

    On that note, did anyone else detect the inconsistency in McCain’s vote on Sotomayor? Here is a guy who has had melanoma 4 times and would have been the oldest first-time president. He thought Sarah “I read all the magazines, or, uh, hmm” Palin should be his VP. She was qualified, or so he clearly thought.

    But Sotomayor, who had the most experience of ANY Supreme Court nominee in more than a CENTURY, deserved a no vote. Hmmm. Maybe its because you can’t see Russia from the Bronx?

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    Steve’s correct about the “real poll”. I assume everyone here is registered to vote, because October 19 is the deadline to register to vote on November 3. Remember Meg! Should we pass a poll tax to pay for these elections?

  • Common Tater

    Why is there no candidate statement for David Harmer in the voting information packet?

  • Pete

    In a low voter turn out the retired vote upset with Obamacare could be what Harmer needs to push him over the top. Anyone that wants to send a message to Washington of no more debt, no more too big to fail, no more bail-outs, no more printing trillions then vote for Harmer. Garamendi was an awful insurance commissioner and a supporter of the insurance companies and a union shill.

  • Tom Benigno

    Concerned: Maybe he feels above the task at hand.

  • Karen Grube

    I was more than glad to donate to Harmer’s campaign this morning! I hope the voter’s of the 10th district won’t even consider voting for someone who doesn’t live in their district and who is, in large part, responsible for California’s financial crisis. Why would anyone ever vote for someone like Garamendi? Really! The guy’s a partisan political hack. If you want someone who will truly stand up for you and against the radical Obama-Pelosi agenda, then vote for Harmer.

  • Dial911

    Time for CHANGE! Vote for someone who is NOT a part of the political establishment and IS a part of our distict, not some out-of-towner. Vote Harmer.

  • Liz

    I love California. I moved because of lousy schools and corruption. Now the state is bankrupt. I believe Harmer can balance a checkbook. Ghiradelli or whomever has already proven he can’t. No brainer, people. Fix the state one elected official at a time.

  • bob conner

    One would think by now that people in the 10th district would wise up, and see what is happening in DC. If people can actually elect a guy like Garamendi, after all the damage he has done to CA in his career, I’ll have lost all faith in our system. How many pensions do you all think Garamendi should get? To vote for Garamendi just because you are a democrat is about as dumb as you can get. Look at what the man has done to CA..You want that everuwhere?

  • Andrew

    I moved to Walnut Creek a year ago. I have never lived in a place that is so brand identified with the Democratic Party, especially when it is their policies that keep CA and the nation riddled with debt and feeling the pain of high taxes. How did people in District 10 get so crazy and impractical?

  • Mark

    Garamendi doesn’t even live here, why should he get to represent us in Washington? I’m a democrat but I will vote republican for this election because I’m sick of all the control the Dems have. We need balance.