Another conservative seeks to take on Pete Stark

Is there a TEA Party fly in the Republican ointment in the 13th Congressional District, or vice versa?

Most of the local “TEA Party” conservatives had seemed to gravitate toward “Coach” Luis Garcia, 49, of Fremont, an information technology worker at Cisco Systems, in last month’s GOP primary as their man to challenge Rep. Pete Stark in November.

Forest BakerBut business executive Forest Baker, 62, won the GOP primary with almost 55 percent of the vote to Garcia’s 45 percent. Baker as of last October was registered to vote at an address in Mountain View, which lies in Rep. Anna Eshoo’s 14th Congressional District; Congressional candidates are not, however, required to live within the bounds of the district in which they seek election, only within the same state.

Now information is circulating on at least one local conservative mailing list urging people to take a look at Chris Pareja, who apparently is working to get on November’s ballot as an independent. From the message I received:

He is an excellent conservative candidate – the only conservative in the race. Forest Baker is the Republican candidate, but is a RINO who believes the Constitution is a living document and does not need to be strictly adhered to. He has no chance to beat Stark, but Pareja can get votes from independents and Democrats, as well as Republicans if he can get enough signatures on his petition to get on the ballot.

Chris ParejaPareja, 38, of Hayward, runs the Pleasanton-based B2B Power Exchange, a business networking outfit. On his website, he describes himself as a “Tea Party Independent” galvanized into political activity by last year’s health-care reform debate.

“I am sick and tired of the ‘Democrat’ versus ‘Republican’ bickering. In fact, I find that when I remove the labels, Americans agree on issues 70% of the time!” he wrote. “Democrats, Independents and Republicans have all told me they feel America has been hijacked by career politicians that believe they can dictate what is best for the people. But every day, citizens – many of whom have never watched politics very closely – are starting to wake up to what is happening in Washington DC (and Sacramento), and they want to put their country back on track.”

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.