Pareja picks Stark over Swalwell

Hayward businessman Chris Pareja, the conservative independent candidate who lost last week’s primary in the 15th Congressional District (in which Democrat Eric Swalwell will advance to challenge Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in November) has given Swalwell what he calls an “anti-endorsement.”

“Following last Tuesday’s results I called to congratulate Congressman Stark and Eric on qualifying for the November General Election.

I may not agree with Congressman Stark on most issues – but his service to the community and the country should be respected. I will continue a candid and respectful dialogue with the Congressman on the direction I believe our country should be moving.

I believe Eric lacks the life experience and character to effectively represent this district. I also wonder whether he has a firm grasp of the proper role of the federal government or where the money will come from to implement the promises he is already beginning to make.

I am concerned that Eric wants to accelerate the implementation of Obama’s failed agenda. I am worried about his positions on property rights and individual liberties.

My preference would be to have a conservative representative that would be focused on responsible spending of tax payer dollars, protecting individual liberties and growing the economy.

Due to the top two primary system, voters have been given the choice of two candidates who are much more liberal than I would prefer. In assessing both options, I believe that Eric is actually more dangerous to the future of the country. As such, I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone who voted for me support Eric in his campaign for the House of Representatives.”

Swalwell declined to comment.

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

    I can’t see too many Republicans or conservatives switching to the 81 year old Stark in November, Stark is rated one of the most leftists congressman in DC, according to articles I’ve read in Times. He’s not just a run of the mill liberal, he is considered a left-wing extremist. It’s no accident Stark had wacky left-wing extremist Dennis Kucinich – campaigning for him in the primary, you’ve got two peas in a pod with Stark and Kucinich. They want national health insurance, an expansion of government at every level, regardless of the cost. Given this I am perplexed Bareja would be endorsing Stark. It’s a real head scratcher really.
    I’m backing Eric Swalwell for Congress because he’s sensible, moderate, and practical. He will work to put people back to work – that’s priorty one in my view – but he will also hold the line on dumb government spending. This huge federal deficit really threatens everybody in the US – rich, poor, middle class – just look at what’s happening in Europe with these countries basically going bankrupt and unemployment rocketing to 20%. The US can’t be a debt-ridden like Bananna republic and still remain strong, work is the key here, we need to put our people back to work, get them paying taxes, then the debt shrinks. Pete Stark, and many other Congressman – like Dennis Kucinich – have been asleep on the job for too long – look at all the jobs that have off-shored. We need new leadership in Congress – young leadership – not aging hacks like Stark and Kucinich, which is why I am supporting this young go getter Eric Swalwell for Congress.

  • JohnW

    Nice to hear from “Moderate Voter” from the Swalwell campaign team.

    Pareja’s statement and reasoning are, to say the least, interesting. I love twists like this.

    I have to concede that Swalwell has the upper hand for November. But I’ll be sticking to my intention of voting for Stark in the expectation that, if re-elected, this will be his last term, one way or another. The district deserves a heavier hitter representing them than a half-term, small town city council member with zero depth on issues. I expect those heavier hitters will run for the seat in 2014 whether Swalwell is elected this time or not. The open primary/final two system gave Swalwell an opening this time, but it will probably knock him out in 2014 if he is elected. The Dem establishment will be ticked at him for running this time and won’t give him the backing an incumbent normally receives.

  • Elwood

    I wonder what they offered him.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Starkers is an old screwball. Screw him!

  • moderate voter

    John, Democratic big-wigs in the beltway just blew it when coming up with a candidate for the newly configured 15th Congressional district. They decided to back 81 year old Pete Stark – even though it’s pretty well known in DC he’s way, way over-the-hill. Stark has become cranky, difficult, and he can’t put in much more than a two hour day anymore. His attention span is gone, he becomes confused all the time, and he isn’t up on local issues, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported. All local papers endorsed Eric Swalwell for Congress, this was no accident, he’s a fine young candidate for the House.
    In fact, it’s voters that are behind this shake-up going on up and down the state insofar as our Congressional candidates are concerned, not newspaper editorial boards. Voters put an end to incumbent gerrymandered districts,they wanted competitive Congressional districts, we are getting them as a result of fundamental changes voters approved. A state commission now draws up districts, the top two candidates – regardless of party, face off in the general. This is reform, voters wanted reform. They wanted competitive Congressional races.
    Nancy Pelosi and other Beltway Democratic bigwigs just didn’t read the tea leaves right, had they done so they would have never backed Stark for the 15th district. The reason voters wanted competitive districts is because we want the best candidates, they want Representatives that work hard and puts the needs of constituents first.
    Pete Stark, in my view, doesn’t meet this test. No way is he the best possible candidate for this job. He’s been in Congress for 40 years, he’s legendary for being flaky and lazy, he hasn’t been effective for at least a decade. In fact, he’s semi-retired now, he pops into his office occasionally in DC, comes home to his district once a month. He’s been on “cruise control” for 20 years, at about a 2 mph rate, in my view.
    If you looking at the problems confronting us now, double digit unemployment, off-shoring of jobs, trillion dollar deficits, the health care system in shambles, I mean we’ve got major problems, so we need change. I think that’s why the voters jettisoned these gerrymandered districts, they want some turnover in Congress, let’s see if the cream will rise to the top for once. No more settling for warmed over political hacks – like Pete Stark – in Congress, stakes are too high now. That’s why I think Pete Stark will lose in the general election, Eric Swalwell is the kind of candidate reformers were thinking about when they made these reforms. He’s a good a candidate to run for Congress in NorCal in 20 years.

  • JohnW

    Re: #5

    No argument with what you say about Stark or how the Dem establishment blew it. However, to the extent I have anything to say about it (admittedly not much), I refuse to hand the seat over to somebody just because he showed up — especially when that somebody is so lacking in background of any kind and has done so little to demonstrate anything but superficial acquaintance with or concern about issues.. The newspapers didn’t really endorse Swalwell, or state a case as to why he would be a good congressman. It was all about Stark.

    What happens with this seat this year will make zero difference in the next two years. However, a strong person in the seat over time can. If the voters fire Stark, that’s understandable. But it’s not because they think Swalwell is so great. With our new open primary, top 2 system, Swalwell will likely hold the seat for just one term. Somebody more qualified on the Dem side will step up and beat him when he doesn’t have Stark to run against.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Stark reminds me of an ancient tortoise—huge, immobile, cunning, He doesn’t like being under scrutiny. Only a highly trained biologist can assess his condition.

  • JohnW

    Re #7

    So,are you suggesting we keep Pete in office in the name of scientific research? I’m good with that. After all, we sent John Glenn up into space again in his 70’s to test the effects of space on aging.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    This just in:We can reliably report that constituents do not, I repeat do not, giving a rat ‘s moldy tush what Pareja says.

  • JohnW

    Agree with @9, but I’m still curious.

    I have my own reasons for refusing to vote for Swalwell, but what makes a conservative like Pareja tick on this?

    Is this just a case of people on the Hayward/San Leandro side of the district sticking together, political differences aside? Doesn’t make much sense otherwise. Or is there just something about Swalwell that especially annoys him?

  • Elwood

    @ John W.

    See my post #3 above.

    Wait for it if Stark is re-elected.

    Otherwise the endorsement makes no sense at all.

  • JohnW

    @11 and #3

    Seems unlikely to me. What could THEY offer? What could HE deliver? Pareja doesn’t seem the “let’s make a deal” type. His business seems sort of start-uppy, so maybe Khanna has hooked him up up with some of his VC buddies. That seems a stretch, considering the “what can he deliver” question.

    I’m thinking it’s just a Hatfield-McCoy, East Side-West Side thing and maybe also a visceral reaction to Swalwell himself.

  • J.T.

    Nummi…Solyndra…Keep voting for these frauds.

  • Fremont Resident

    When has Pete said that he would retire in 2014? Has he ever actually said it himself? I’ve only read other people saying it in comments of news articles…

  • JohnW


    He hasn’t ever said he would retire in 2014. Nature has a way of dealing with these things. He’ll be 83, already looks 90 and can barely get around. If Nature and self-reflection won’t take care of it, I seriously doubt would-be contenders for the seat will give him the pass they tried to give him this time around. They are probably kicking themselves about this year.

    In the unlikely case Stark wins this time, it will be an open seat in 2014; and we’ll have a very lively Dem vs Dem general election 11/14. If Swalwell wins, we’ll have him defending the seat against a strong, well-financed Dem opponent in the general. With open primary/top 2, just being a Dem incumbent in a Dem district won’t cut it anymore.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    There is an opening at Commerce right now that would be perfect for Pete: not much work. He would probably prefer HHS, but that might be too strenuous.

  • JohnW

    I really think we should all admire Pete for his contribution to reducing the deficit. With an officially retired Pete, we would have to pay both a hefty pension to him and a salary to his replacement. Since he apparently doesn’t travel to the district much, we save air fare too. What’s not to like? Vote for Stark.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    JohnW, if Swalwell wins, the DCCC will back him as the incumbent in ’14 — period. Ro Khanna, bless him, will need to take his war chest to another district….

  • Elwood

    What DD said.

  • JohnW

    Re: 18 & 19

    Maybe so, but not sure it matters in the new era of the open/top 2 system. Swalwell has proved that.

    It’s a safe bet Khanna won’t be on the sidelines in 2014. If he wants a House seat, he’ll have to run against an incumbent in either his home district (the 15th) or in his Silicon Valley/Peninsula sphere of influence. The softest target would be the rookie in his home district. I can’t see Eshoo, Honda, Speier or Lofgren giving up a seat. Pelosi might retire, but you have to be from SF politics to win that seat.

    Of course, with his war chest and friends, he could run for a statewide office. Treasurer if Lockyer mercifully stands down. Or AG if Brown gets bored and opens up the governorship for a run by Kamala Harris.

    Frankly, I don’t know why anybody would want for the House, especially if you’re in the minority party. It’s not very influential and is held in low esteem. The minute you get elected, you have to start dialing for dollars for your re-election. And if you want a decent committee assignment, you have to raise money for the party. Yuk!

  • Elwood

    “Pelosi might retire”

    “Nancy Pelosi Talks Like Loose Cannon”


  • JohnW

    Re: #21 and the link

    When the GOP re-gained control of the House, Darrell Issa said he wanted seven investigative hearings a week 40 weeks a year. He didn’t know the subjects, just that he wanted lots of investigations. He called the Obama administration one of the most corrupt in history. What an insult to the Harding (Teapot Dome) and Nixon (Watergate) administrations! As for the current full-court press on Eric Holder, many Dems have speculated that this is in retaliation for a number of DOJ actions regarding state Voter ID and immigration laws. Personally, I think it’s also retaliation for the investigations of Bush’s AG, Alberto Gonzalez. Nice touch that one of the senior GOP members on Issa’s committee is Dan Burton, who once shot pumpkins in his back yard to somehow prove that Vince Foster’s death wasn’t a suicide.

  • Fremont Resident

    So he’s never said he’s going to retire, and I’m supposed to believe that the “big guns” are going to try to run against him in 2014? Call me cynical, but I think I’ll vote for Swallwell just because I think it’s pathetic that I’m supposed to vote for someone who I personally dislike solely because people might run against him in 2014. This whole process just screams entitlement.

  • JohnW

    Re 23 Fremont Resident

    Your view is shared by many and will likely prevail in November. I obviously have a different perspective.

    You resent the suggestion that you should vote for Stark based on what might or might not transpire in 2014. Similarly, I resent the suggestion that I should hand a Congressional seat to a second year city council member who seems devoid of policy substance and whose principle argument is that he’s not Stark.

    Being from San Ramon, I didn’t know anything about Swalwell when I attended a candidate forum, but I was glad somebody was running against Stark and was predisposed to support him. However, his sales pitch at that forum was horrible in terms of negativity and lack of substance. I decided then that I would not vote for him, no matter what.