Stark, 80, may have the advantages of better campaign funding and the bully pulpit of incumbency, but Swalwell, 31, is proving tenacious both locally and nationally. For example, the University of Maryland grad scored some complimentary ink in the Washington Post’s local section yesterday.
And he’s continuing to be creative in how he canvasses the newly drawn 15th Congressional District. He already did a “listening tour” of all of the district’s downtowns, and he went out and served coffee all night to Black Friday holiday shoppers. Now he’s kicking off a new campaign initiative – running, and I don’t just mean “running for office.” He and campaign volunteers going to participate in six local runs over the next six months, starting New Year’s Day with a 5k at the Lake Chabot Marina in Castro Valley – a none-to-subtle way of juxtaposing his youth with Stark’s, er, elder statesmanship.
But this is still going to be a very, very tough race for Swalwell, as it would be for anyone taking on a 40-year incumbent. Swalwell raised about $75,000 in the third quarter of this year, his debut; he told the Post this week that he’s raised about $100,000 so far, which means his fourth-quarter fundraising might’ve stalled. Stark, meanwhile, had about $544,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30.
And there’s a lot going on in the backfield, as former Obama Administration official Ro Khanna of Fremont has been raising tremendous money in this fourth quarter (though he swears he won’t run against Stark, and is merely building a nest egg for when Stark retires – more on him very soon). Khanna’s massive fundraising for 2014 could help explain why Ellen Corbett reportedly is considering running in 2012 rather than first finishing out her state Senate term, as she told me she would two months ago.