Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, at this hour is scheduled to be pressing the flesh with a constituency crucial to his re-election chances in a newly redrawn district.
He’s holding a roundtable discussion this afternoon with local Latino leaders at WorkNet of San Joaquin County in Stockton. The purpose, his office had said, was “for the participants to provide the Congressman with feedback on the needs and priorities of Stockton’s Latino community” as well as for the lawmaker to update the group on his work and take questions.
Mobilizing Latino votes in Stockton will be key to whether McNerney remains in office.
His old 11th Congressional District spanned from Lodi down to Morgan Hill, and from the affluent I-680 suburbs of Danville and San Ramon out to Manteca. But redistricting put his hometown of Pleasanton in the same district with seemingly eternal incumbent Pete Stark, D-Fremont, so McNerney is in the process of moving east into the newly compacted 9th Congressional District, which will include some of eastern Contra Costa County and a lot of San Joaquin.
Although many might’ve believed McNerney’s shift eastward would mean a more conservative district for him, Democrats actually have a wider margin over Republicans in voter registration in the new 9th District compared to his old 11th District. That’s due in large part to the fact that he used to represent less than half of Stockton, but now has the whole city – a Democratic stronghold compared to the rest of San Joaquin County. And last year’s census shows almost a third of Stockton is Latino.
McNerney held his 67th “Congress at Your Corner” availability with constituents in a Stockton library Friday and is back to the city again today for this roundtable, knowing full well that he’ll be in big trouble without firm backing from Latino voters.