If Rep. Pete Stark is contemplating a bait-and-switch in which he’ll actually drop his bid for re-election to a 21st term at the last minute, he’s staging a pretty convincing ruse.
Politico on Wednesday named Stark among a list of House members still likely to pull the plug before it comes time to put their names on the ballot for another go-round.
But since then I’ve received an e-mail from Stark’s campaign describing his “strong momentum” as evidenced by his rollout of an experienced campaign team, $579,000 cash on hand, a retooled campaign website and some endorsements.
The Stark campaign team includes campaign consultant Alex Tourk and his firm Ground Floor Public Affairs; pollster John Fairbank of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates; fundraiser Michael Fraioli of Fraioli & Associates; online strategists Trilogy Interactive, and Field Director Jason Teramoto.
“I am energized and excited for the campaign ahead. I am honored to serve the people of the 15th District and will work to earn their votes,” Stark said in the news release. “My record and vision speaks to the priorities of the people I represent. I will continue the fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, provide incentives to fuel our local economy, and bring home all of our troops.”
That matches what Stark had told me last week without any prevarication.
“I’m running. I’ve hired campaign consultants, we’re going full bore. I haven’t thought about spending this much money in 30 years,” he had said. “I always have a Republican (opponent) because the Republicans wisely don’t let any race go unchallenged… but this time I have a primary opponent who I guess thinks he got a message from the Democratic gods and he’s taking me on and raised a little money.”
That’s Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell. State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, has been raising money for a 15th Congressional District race too, but told me yesterday she’s still exploring whether to run this year or wait for 2014. And former Obama Administration official Ro Khanna raised a tremendous $1.2 million for the race in the last three months of 2011, but insists he won’t run against Stark.
Stark last week told me he predicts that because Swalwell is in the race, “there will be others.”
“Understandably, they’ve told me if one person gets in, they all have to get in,” lest Stark, 80, suddenly fall ill and leave Swalwell solely positioned to take the seat, he had said. “From my standpoint, that’s great – you get four or five candidates in there and I win. They’ve all got to hope that I win, because they wouldn’t want any of the wannabes to win and knock me out, they’d all be second-string then.”