Super PAC considering attacks on Stark, Eshoo?

A national, nonpartisan “super PAC” targeting incumbents on both sides of the aisle reportedly is taking a hard look at two Bay Area House members.

The Hill reported yesterday that the Campaign for Primary Accountability – which has already begun spending against Republicans and Democrats in other states, two of whom subsequently lost their primaries – is watching California representatives including Pete Stark, D-Fremont, and Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.

The campaign is targeting safe districts in which entrenched incumbents have what it deems to be credible challengers, taking a “throw the bums out” mentality to ousting lawmakers it believes have been on Capitol Hill too long.

“The full measure of the success of our efforts will be seen in the next election cycle when more primary challengers step forward, giving voters a choice and an opportunity to participate in competitive elections,” spokesman Curtis Ellis told the Hill.

Spokespeople for the Stark and Eshoo campaigns didn’t immediately reply to emails seeking comment.

Under California’s new top-two primary system, all voters can choose from among all candidates of any party on June 5; the top-two vote getters – even if they’re of the same party – will advance to November’s general election.

Stark, 80, who has been in Congress since 1972, is being challenged by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell, a Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor, and by conservative nonpartisan candidate Chris Pareja, a businessman from Hayward. Eshoo, 69, who has been in Congress since 1992, is being challenged by Democrat William Parks, an attorney from Sunnyvale; Republican Dave Chapman, a software engineer from Mountain View; and Green Carol Brouillet, a political activist from Palo Alto.

The rules governing super PACs require that they not coordinate their campaign with any specific candidate in any way.

Also reportedly on the group’s watch list in California are Republican Reps. Dan Lungren, Gary Miller, John Campbell and Brian Bilbray, and Democratic Reps. Jim Costa, Adam Schiff, Grace Napolitano, Henry Waxman, Joe Baca, Karen Bass, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Maxine Waters.

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.

  • moderate voter

    Pete Stark is far too liberal for the newly configured 15th Congressional district, he has been rated as the most left wing representative in the US. As I understand he’s more liberal at 81 than he was at 51, his views have become really far out, that’s why he was denied the leadership of the ways and means commitee a few years back by his fellow Democrats. He has not aged well everybody is saying.
    A sensible, moderate Democrat who supports job creation and cutting the deficit really works for this district. Jerry McNereny would have been perfect for this seat, but Stark refuses to retire, even though he’s way, way over-the-hill. Because McNerny isn’t running, the best candidate is this 32 yeard Dublin City Councilman Eric Swallell, who also works as an Alameda County prosecutor. This guy is a total go-getter, but he’s no an extremist, he will work to put people back to work, keep taxes low, and cut the deficit.
    Stark, in my view, is a 60’s era type leftist with utopian type ideas that keep getting more and more ridiculous as he moves into his 80’s, so I think it’s likely he will get targeted by this SuperPac that’s trying to get rid of the obstructionist dead wood in Washington. Generally I don’t like SuperPacs, but this Stark fellow has got to go, I’d like to get 5 SuperPacs to come into this district to take Stark out. Too many people out of work, too little work getting done in DC now. Time to stop the hyper partisanship, let’s get sensible people in Congress, like Eric Swalwell.

  • James

    Grace Napolitano has to GO!!
    unemployment has double in her district since she has been in office and bring the same old business. We need help!!!!

  • John W.

    This group is in Texas, run by Curtis Ellis and financed by a very small number of little known rich guys writing big checks. Who the hell is Curtis Ellis? To whom are he and his backers accountable? They’ve gone after some people who deserved to be gone, but that doesn’t make what they are doing a good thing. They claim to be anti-incumbent rather than issue-driven. But who are they to decide that Congressman so and so in Ohio or California has been around too long and that any challenger would be better than any incumbent? Some corrupt Russian billionaire could just as easily do the same thing and end up “owning” a few Senators.

  • Elwood

    @ Moderate Voter

    Lars 54 is that you?

  • John W.

    Re: Moderate Voter

    After checking in with Eric’s campaign web site, I have to admit that I agree with every position he takes on issues. Only problem is, he doesn’t state any positions on anything, other than promising to live in the district. In fact, he doesn’t even mention any issues, let alone state a position.

  • moderate voter

    Re: John W.
    The approval rating for Congress now is 13%, people are angry at the political system, partisan gridlock is a key problem, I think. We need representatives who can work with the other side. Stark, as many know, is extremely combative and obnoxious – even more so at age 81 – which is another reason his fellow Democrats denied him a chair of an important commitee a few years ago. People just can’t work with him. He’s shrill, noisy, agrumentative, he’s become a real piece of work. For this reason Republicans – and Democrats now – give him wide berth, I mean they see Stark walking the corridors of Congress and when they see him they turn around and go in different direction.
    This other Democratic candidate in the race – Eric Swalwell, is just the opposite, he has the ability to work with others and get work done. In my view we need to get rid of people in Congress that are obstructionists, like Pete Stark. The serious problems we have now – too many people out of work, jobs going overseas, record deficits – these problems are serious – voters want to get it done – which is why Pete Stark isn’t the right choice for this district.
    If you want more of the same – vote for Stark – but if you are looking for change I think Eric Swalwell is the right choice for the 15th district.

  • John W.

    Moderate Voter,

    Agree with you on much of what you say. That’s why we’ll elect somebody else for that seat in 2014, when more candidates step up and give us more choice. Congress’s approval rating does not rise or fall based on whether Stark stays for one more cranky term or we send a first-term Dublin councilman who apparently thinks it is clever not to discuss any issues or positions. Spending priorities? Entitlements? Taxes? Health Care? Foreign policy? Economy? Energy? Education? His say nothing approach is one of the reasons Congress has that low approval rating in the first place. I want a moderate who plays well with the other kids, but I want some substance and fire in the belly too. It’s okay if somebody takes a position but changes his opinion later based on new facts or in the name of compromise. But I at least like to know if they know anything about the issues. Name one issue where your guy feels so strongly that he is willing to p*** off some of his constituents to take on the issue. Like him or not, nobody can accuse Stark of not having convictions or taking a stand. Like him or not, McNerney staked out issues important to him right from the start — alternative energy and veteran’s affairs. He didn’t just say, “elect me, because I’m not Richard Pombo,” as important as that was. Your guy worked for Ellen Tauscher. She’s endorsed a county supervisor candidate. Is she planning to endorse Eric? If not, why not? Not that it would influence me anyway.

  • moderate voter

    John W,
    Your reply is well written and thoughtful, but I do think it’s important to realize the 15th Congressional district is a brand new district – drawn up by a voter created commission. Stark is not the incumbent, this district has no incumbent. The arrogant Stark has brazenly laid claim to it. While he represented parts of this district many years ago, a lot of it he hasn’t.
    Voters, in my view, created this independent commission to draw up the Congressional districts for the express purpose of ending the gridlock in DC and Sacramento. The gridlock has been caused by intense partisanship – members of Congress are refusing to get together and solve problems.
    Stark, in my view, is a texbook example of a partisan robot, he can’t work with anybody from the other party. Because you have so many of these types in DC now – Republicans and Democrats – what you get is drift and stalemate. Pronlems aren’t getting solved.
    The reason I think this Eric Swalwell really works for the 15th district is because he’s moderate, he’s not a 60’s era leftist like Stark. This new 15th congressional district is a district full of moderate Democrats and independets, Swalwell ideologically is in tune with the average voter, I think. One thing I like about him is the concern he has shown for small business people, as a Dublin Councilman he’s very attuned to local economy, what can be done by the City to help the local business people. Stark, in contast, doesn’t know any small business people in the district, doesn’t care about them, and is totally fixiated on the partisan wars in DC.
    I think we need change in Washington which is why I’m backing Swalwell – the old template of ideological warfare has to be set aside, we need to get it done in DC. Let’s start solving problems. I’m a blue collar worker myself, many of my construction buddies have lost thier homes, they are making 1/3 of what they used to make. Others I know have seen thier jobs go overseas – the middle class is just getting the shaft -yet Stark continues to hide out in Washington playing his partisan games. Voters in the 15 district have a chance – in my view – to send a sensible, moderate Democrat – one that can work effectively with others – including Republicans, which is why I am backing Swalwell.

  • John W.

    Re: #8

    Moderate voter,

    You’re entitled to your opinion and your vote, of course. I’m no Pete Stark fan. I was not pleased to be drawn into “his district.” You make a good point that it is a new district. In a manner of speaking, there is no incumbent. Unfortunately, I’m underwhelmed by Swalwell. He had a chance to impress me at the forum in Dublin in February, but he blew it. Plus, he has done nothing since then to cause me to rethink my initial impression. That being the case, I’ll vote for Stark for the purpose of keeping the seat available for what I believe will be a better crop of candidates in 2014. If Swalwell fails this time, he’ll have a couple of years to be better prepared then.