The great Stark-Swalwell smackdown, this Monday

They oughta sell programs and popcorn at this one: Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, and his Democratic upstart challenger Eric Swalwell will both be at the TriValley Democratic Club’s candidates night this coming Monday, and I’ll be surprised if some sparks don’t fly.

Pete StarkThe event begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20 in the IBEW Local 595 hall at 6250 Village Parkway in Dublin; it’s open to the public. Each candidate will have a few minutes for an opening statement and then answer questions from the audience; a straw poll will be taken after all the candidates have spoken.

Stark’s office recently confirmed to me that he’ll be there; Swalwell says he will, too. I’m not aware of the two of them having crossed paths since Swalwell – an Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin councilman – declared his candidacy in September.

Eric SwalwellStark, 80, is known for his plain-spoken and occasionally… [ahem] colorful dialogue; Swalwell, 31, has been pounding the pavement trying to portray Stark as having been in office so long that he’s far out of touch with voters. Each says he’s best qualified to serve the newly drawn 15th Congressional District, but this club is Swalwell’s home turf. I’ll be curious to see what they say when they’re face-to-face.

Invited candidates for offices not contested by other Democrats include Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo; state Senator Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and Alameda County Supervisors Nate Miley and Scott Haggerty.

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.

  • rew

    On paper Dublin City Councilman and Alameda County prosecutor Erick Swalwell’s campaign is a long shot, but he is a terrific candidate for Congress, which makes this race so interesting. I really think the Democratic leadership in NorCal ought to be grooming a younger generation of leaders – like Eric Swalwell, but instead they are backing 81 year old Pete Stark for the newly drawn 15th district, inexplicably. It makes no sense to send Pete Stark back to Washington DC for another term. He’s 81, his health has been poor, his fellow represenatatives hold him in low regard – they passed over him for a leadership position – a position he had earned via senority – because they held him in such low regard. It has reached the point where other members turn and run in the other direction when they see him in the halls of Congress, Stark has become butt of jokes, yet Pelosi is backing him for one more term. It just doesn’t make any sense. What does makes sense is electing this 32 year old go getter Eric Swallwell, he’s got experience as a prosecutor, a backround in local goverment, he’s hometown hero, what’s not to like?

  • John W.

    Anybody know if a video of this will be available online?

  • Elwood

    “Pelosi is backing him for one more term.”

    Stark has been a loyal foot soldier for the lovely and charming Nancy, aka General Custer.

  • I must be really behind as last I knew, Rep Garamendi lived in Walnut Grove and his current area includes Walnut Creek. When did he move to San Francisco?

  • CuteStuff

    This will be more fun than the law legally allows – Eric will leave with a very sore bottom and rightfully so – wish I could be there!

  • Irene Smith uaw 24years

    I’m so proud of my UAW President Sergio Santos for coming out in support of Congressman Stark. Swalwell was reading a campaign script then in the middle of his skit he takes off his coat like now i mean business…lol i been around along time and it seemed like his high school Buddies loved it but not me. Swallwell seems like a nice guy to go have a beer or go Bowling but U.S Congress NO WAY! Pete Stark has my support all the way. and Ro Khanna has in 2014!

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    To Irene: Are you equally proud of the wonders achieved by the UAW in Michigan? Have you visited Flint or Detroit lately? Ask your union prez about that. Oh, forgot about the wonderful record in job creation Stark has assembled in places like Fremont.

  • Irene Smith

    Hey Senile,
    My UAW Prez said, “I don’t know how any reasonable person can fail to acknowledge that this rescue plan worked and the country has benefited,”
    The last state of the union President Obama issue a call to the nation and Republicans in Congress to work together to solve the nation’s unemployment crisis and focus on strengthening the middle class by strengthening manufacturing. The president has demonstrated his commitment to creating an economy ‘built to last’ by restructuring the U.S. auto industry for the 21st century, while Republican opponents were willing to let it die and see millions of jobs lost. The recovery of the American automotive industry is one of our country’s greatest economic success stories.
    General Motors Co. is back as the world’s No. 1 automaker, Chrysler Group LLC is outpacing its U.S. competitors in sales growth and Ford Motor Co. continues to make large investments in its U.S. plants. All three domestic automakers are bringing jobs back to the United States from other countries. Thanks to the Obama administration’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing, the domestic automakers have added nearly 160,000 jobs to the economy. The president says he bet on U.S. workers. That bet paid off, as we had no doubt it would. Like i said Swallwell seems like a great guy to go have a Beer or Bowling. Ro Khanna has a great Job Creation platform. stark 2012 Ro Khanna 2014!

  • John W.

    RR, Senile columnist

    As a Michigander dating back to the sixties who still goes there, I’ve spent “quality time” in both Flint and Detroit. It’s sad, but you can hardly blame it all on the UAW. Did they overreach? You betcha! But they had co-conspirators in the automakers. And they bear no blame for the crummy products Detroit produced for so many years. By the way, lower Michigan is on an upswing these days. My brother works in Detroit as a buyer for a parts distributor (part of the supplier network that the auto bailout helped preserve). They are quite busy these days. It ain’t Danville, Walnut Creek, or Silicon Valley; but you have to start someplace.

  • Rita T

    Hey, I just read this article after watching last night’s events–this photo of Stark must be from the 80s (the 1980s, not his) cuz he did NOT look like that at all!!!

  • Michele Dislocated NUMMI worker

    I was at NUMMI for (17) years when TOYOTA came and yanked the plug off the Wall.I’m very grateful for the leadership that UAW President Sergio Santos and Congressman Pete Stark and others displayed in getting (TAA Training assistantce adjustment)Grant in a record (3) months allowing Re-TRAINING Dollars for me and my fellow 4700 X NUMMI workers to reinvent themselves in the work force. Honestly to say he’s disconnected himself to the District and X NUMMI workers your wrong!I saw him at resource fair at our UAW UNION hall interacting with our membership.Im now a pharmacy assistant at a new drug store in Dublin Pete Stark you have my Support THANK YOU!