CD11: Harmer seeks town halls with McNerney





GOP Congressional District 11 nominee David Harmer’s campaign has delivered a written invitation to Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney to appear in six town hall meetings in the next two months.

I can predict the answer already: No.

Challengers everywhere challenge incumbents to town halls or debates or whatever, all in the name of educating voters. McNerney did the same when he ran against then-incumbent Richard Pombo followed by 2008 GOP nominee Dean Andal’s unfulfilled request of McNerney.

Voters might be educated during such events.

But most incumbents figure they can educate voters without the presence of a challenger, who benefits from the free media he or she might not otherwise receive. And there is always a debate over an acceptable moderator and an independent source of questions, etc.

So, my prediction is this: Total silence from the McNerney camp followed by a press release chock full of indignation about how the incumbent refuses to talk to the people.

That’s not to say that Harmer and McNerney will never appear together. Nonpartisan groups will probably try to put together candidate forums between now and Nov. 2.

The CD11 candidates have been invited to participate in a taped, televised round-table sponsored by the Contra Times and the League of Women Voters, which will air throughout Contra Costa County in September and October. I am the moderator and I am writing the questions.

Here’s the letter from Harmer:

David Harmer Challenges Jerry McNerney to

Take Campaign to the People

Harmer invites McNerney to series of town halls throughout

11th Congressional District


August 16, 2010

(San Ramon, CA) – As the election arm of Nancy Pelosi and the congressional Democratic leadership ramps up its attack campaign for the fall, David Harmer has challenged Jerry McNerney to a much different tack: taking both campaigns directly to the voters through a series of town hall discussions.

In a letter delivered to McNerney’s campaign headquarters Friday, Harmer proposed that the two candidates participate in town hall meetings in Lodi, Manteca, Tracy, Danville, Pleasanton, and Morgan Hill. The proposed timeline includes three town halls in September, and three in October.

“This is not a debate,” said David Harmer. “The point here is to foster discussion about our respective plans for the district. Jerry McNerney has been adamant in his support for Nancy Pelosi and Barak Obama’s big-government agenda. On the other hand, I believe in Ronald Reagan’s vision for a smaller, more efficient government that fosters a healthy free-market economy. These forums will give voters the opportunity to hear and understand the differences between McNerney’s record and Reagan’s vision, and I strongly urge Jerry McNerney to join me in this venture.”

“McNerney has been criticized since his government healthcare vote of avoiding town hall meetings,” added Campaign Manager Cameron Wilkinson. “This gives McNerney an opportunity to get back outside of the Beltway and join David Harmer for informative discussions with the voters. The point is not to debate, but instead to connect with the constituents and let them know that their elected officials are interested in being transparent about their policies.”

The Harmer team is awaiting a decision by the McNerney campaign on this invitation.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Wow, David Harmer and his team thought so long and hard about this proposal–reeking of desperation–that they can’t even spell correctly the name of President BARACK Obama (or refer to him by his title, but, given their record of calling Congressman McNerney, Speaker Pelosi and the President “bums”, as they did at the Danville 4th of July Parade, I’m not going to hold my breath).

    Learn to employ a human spell-checker, folks!*

    (If this is the error of Political Blotter, my apologies in advance, but it wouldn’t be the first time bank lawyer David Harmer has been spelling challenged: his campaign’s official Twitter bio spells Congressman McNerney as “McNerny” … http://www.twitter.com/harmer4congress … Bush-league!)

  • Elwood

    Everyone knows it’s McNerdney!

  • John W

    Candidate forums and roundtables proposed by the Times and LWV are a good idea. “Town hall meetings,” having been given a bad name by the town howlers last summer, are not such a groovy idea.

    Harmer is clearly the more experienced candidate. He has run for Congress three times in three districts in two states. How many politicians can make such a claim?

  • Dan

    McNerney doesn’t dare show up to try to defend the indefensible. One of the many reasons Harmer will win in November.

  • John W

    Re: #4

    Harmer may or may not win in November. No candidate in his or her right mind would show up for the kind of shout-downs that took place last summer, where people were not given a chance to ask real questions, and candidates were not given a chance to answer. As for defending the “indefensible,” not sure what you have in mind. But some of us who are hardly far lefters agree with many of those things that McNerney has supported. His advocacy for veterans is one reason McNerney’s endorsements include a couple of Republican mayors. Reforming the disgraceful individual health insurance market should have been done decades ago; unless, of course, you’re for people being denied coverage due to acne or toe-nail fungus or having their policies retroactively canceled when they get sick. People in the district are deeply divided on Afghanistan, but I personally agree with McNerney breaking away from the other members of the Bay Area Congressional delegation and voting for the war funding and his stated reasons for doing so. The stimulus program (one third each for tax cuts, state aid and infrastructure) has been a good thing, in my opinion. Without it, they wouldn’t now be doing the fourth bore of the Cadecott Tunnel, and far more teachers would be on the sidelines instead of educating kids. People hate the bailouts (started by Bush but supported by Democrats); but people would really, really hate the second Great Depression we would have had without them. And, by the way, the money is being paid back. Win or lose, I’ll stick with McNerney, thank you.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    We ain’t talkin’ Lincoln and Douglas here!

  • John W

    Re: 6 RR

    That made me laugh. I have to concur somewhat.

    But I still like Jerry. He’s just a very decent, quiet-spoken guy. Never a political activist. Just decided to run because he didn’t like Pombo or what we did in Iraq. I’ve been to two of his get-togethers where he meets with folks in small groups. Everybody, friend or foe, gets to ask questions or voice opinions. Whether they agree with him or not, he answers respectfully and directly. Anybody who thinks he’s just a clone or puppet of Nancy Pelosi is mistaken.

  • Elwood, I’m a McNerney supporter, and I found that funny.

    (I think Congressman McNerney, one of a handful of PhDs in Congress, might also.)

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Harmer should go on a hunger strike in protest.