Is Eric Swalwell a Tea Partier? Um, no.

Supporters of Eric Swalwell, the Democratic insurgent who’s challenging Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, are up in arms about a recent Stark mailer which depicts Swalwell in a cup of tea – a la the Tea Party. Here are some excerpts:

“Who is really behind Eric Swalwell? On the doorstep, at meetings, driving this rookie city councilman’s campaign? Tea Party supporters. They’ve given money, given energy and given life to the Swalwell campaign – and they’ll succeed unless we stop them.”

“Campaign finance reports show that over $86,000 of Eric Swalwell’s contributions come from Republicans. Swalwell claims he’s no conservative, but the evidence speaks for itself. Republicans and their corporate allies in the pharmaceutical world like Amgen and Pfizer are excited about young Swalwell because they think he’s their cup of tea.”

“As reported in a respected East Bay newspaper, Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell took over $15,000 from a contractor and voted to give them a no-bid contract. Swalwell’s actions would have been illegal in some East Bay cities.”

Ellis Goldberg, president of the TriValley Democratic Club, is incensed. “I have not endorsed either candidate nor has the club, but I feel this defamation of one of my club members has to be answered,” he wrote in an e-mail Wednesday night. “Both candidates are TVDC members, Eric has been active for many years.

Aside from being a long-time Tri-Valley Dems member, Swalwell interned for former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo – a Blue Dog, but certainly no Tea Party darling; also, he chaired the 2008 TriValley United Democratic Campaign to get Democrats elected to local and state offices. Nothing he has said on his website, in interviews or elsewhere indicates Tea Party policies. He is a Democrat, not some zombified “Manchurian Candidate” for conservatives.

But that’s not exactly what Stark’s mailer said. And without a doubt, there are conservatives who want to see Swalwell beat Stark.

Put yourself in the shoes of any Republican – Tea Party-sympathetic or otherwise – living in this district: Who would you vote for, with only these two candidates on the ballot? Stark and his supporters are proud that he’s one of the most doggedly liberal members of Congress, and it’s safe to assume anyone with even a streak of conservatism would vote against him. That’s been part of Swalwell’s campaign strategy from the get-go – appealing to a broader spectrum of voters than Stark can. If anyone to the right of Pete Stark is deemed a Tea Partier, there are a whooooooole lot of Democrats and independents out there who’ll cry foul.

And wouldn’t out-of-district and out-of-state conservative interests who want to see Stark gone contribute to the campaign of anyone who could make that happen? Of course they would. Swalwell, at a significant fundraising disadvantage to the incumbent, would be a fool to turn that money away.

As for the pay-to-play accusation, we’ve discussed that East Bay Express story here.

Swalwell’s campaign also noted today that a photograph included in the mailer – depicting Swalwell holding up an Etch-A-Sketch on which a GOP elephant has been drawn – was doctored. Here’s the original:

Lisa Tucker, Swalwell’s campaign manager, said they believe Stark’s campaign took it from a Facebook page.

“It just misrepresents, it implies Eric drew that elephant on the Etch-a-Sketch and he did not,” she said. “There was no reason to take a personal photo of Eric and doctor it like that.”

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.

  • GV Haste

    You know, I walked precincts for Pete Stark back in his first election in 1972, but I’ve really had it with him.

    Here he is casting false accusations and he is such a “chicken s__t” he won’t even come into the district to campaign.
    He sits back in Maryland on his estate and the most he has going in here is those silly videos where he reads from a script “Pete Stark answers the tough questions”

    Sorry, he is now a tired craggy old wimp.
    Some people age well, and some just go off.
    I compare the vigor and intelligence of 79 year old Diane Feinstein to that of 80 year old Pete Stark.

    Well, as anyone can see, there is no comparsion.
    I will gladly vote for Diane Feinstein and pray that Pete Stark is out by January.
    And if a better candidate or group of candidates challenge Swalwell in 2014, so be it.
    Neither he nor anyone else should feel like the office is their special privilage.

    That is what has happened to Pete Stark, he has come to view “our” congressional seat, as “his”.

  • Elwood
  • Truthclubber

    Is this the same Ellis Goldberg who is a self-acknowledged “outsourcing/offshoring consultant” while pretending to be a Democrat, aka a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”?

    Just Google “Ellis Goldberg outsourcing consultant” and you’ll see what I mean via LinkedIn…

  • Elwood

    @ 3

    If there was ever any doubt that you’ve gone completely round the bend your most recent post should lay it to rest forever.

    There is no mention of anyone named “Ellis Goldberg” anywhere in this thread.

    Isn’t that you with the big ears at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?

  • John W

    @ #4

    “There is no mention of anyone named “Ellis Goldberg” anywhere in this thread.”

    Ummm! Not in the comments, but his name leads off the 5th paragraph in Josh’s post. I don’t know the guy, except for all the e-mails I get from him on behalf of the TVDC — of which I am not a member.

  • John W

    It is slander to imply that Swalwell is a TP. Slander of the Tea Party, that is. The Tea Party has ideas and positions on issues. They’re mostly lousy ideas and positions, but they have them.

  • Rick H.

    I love how some guy named “Fortney” calls himself “Pete” so he sounds like a regular guy.

    If this is the Bay Area we are talking about two different strains of left wing kook so what difference does it make?

  • Elwood

    @ John W. #5

    Oops! How the hell did I miss that?

    But there’s still no doubt that Toothsucker has gone completely round the bend.

  • Truthclubber

    @4 —

    From the post from Josh Richman on this topic:

    “Ellis Goldberg, president of the TriValley Democratic Club, is incensed.”

    This is absolute proof that you, “Elwood”, will say anything, no matter how heinous or separated from the truth, to disparge through ad hominen attacks anyone who would dare to claim you as someone other than “the God of Truth Almighty” so that you can continue your campaign of neo-fascism.

  • Elwood

    @ # 9 Toothsucker

    See # 8

    And try to remain calm.

  • Elwood

    You must feel quite honored, Toothsucker!

    Josh has devoted an entire thread to proving what an ass you are!

  • Truthclubber

    @10 —

    Back to juvenile name calling, eh?

    Is that all you have left?

    I guess I should expect as much from a lightweight like yourself, when all else (truth, facts, integrity, decency, respect, humility, honesty, pride, etc.) fails you or has never feigned to rest on your shoulders.

    We are “not laughing with you, Elwood…” and you know how the rest of that sentence goes.

  • John W

    Global warming is once again escalating from the heated ad hominem exchanges.

  • Truthclubber

    @13 —

    Mike Bloomberg agrees with you, as does Governor Andrew Cuomo. 😉

  • Truthclubber

    Oh, the horror, the horror!

    Elwood’s famed source of all things knowable (The Economist) has just endorsed…wait for it…the “Hafrican Socialist!

    Again, we’re not laughing with you, Elwood, we’re laughing…you figure out the rest of that sentence.

  • Truthclubber

    Why does it seem like Lisa (I owe my very livelihood to Queen Ellen Tauscher) Tucker & Co. are squealing like a stuck pig? over this latest mailer?

    Perhaps…because it’s (the mailer, that is) T-R-U-E, and they (the Tauscherites) got caught trying to sell out to the GOP voters to win what is an overwhelmingly Democratic seat that belongs largely to Alameda County, where the vast majority of voters live in this new CD.

  • John W

    Not exactly what I was thinking of, but ’tis true about Bloomberg.

    I just read online that the newspaper in my northern Michigan hometown endorsed Obama. (Traverse City Record-Eagle). I never thought of them as being liberal or conservative, or even all that focused on politics. But this is a moderately conservative Republican area. Home to one-time U.S. Senator Bob Griffin, who, along with then Congressman Gerald Ford, tried to have William O. Douglas impeached. Home to the late conservative evangelical congressman Guy Vander Jagt, who was chosen by Reagan to deliver the 1980 keynote speech, which he did from memory, without notes or prompter. He also tried to change the 22nd Amendment, so that Reagan could go for a third term. Gee, that would have worked well, what with the Alzheimers and all.

    Then again, Traverse City (Cherry Capital of the World) is also home to former very moderate GOP governor, William Milliken, who was George Romney’s Lt. Gov and then served as governor himself for 14 years and is considered the best governor in the state’s history. He was a Yale classmate of George H.W. Bush, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in WW2, but endorsed John Kerry in 2004 and refused to endorse Mitt Romney. Definitely a believer in climate change science.

  • Truthclubber

    @17 —

    Everyone who has a brain, cares about their children, and is not delusional or on some fossil fuel payroll is “a believer in climate change science”.

  • Elwood

    I bought a carton of milk this afternoon.

    Imagine how surprised I was to see Petey Bird’s picture on it.

    But why anyone would want to find that piece of aged dessicated excrement is beyond me.

    Maybe they want to donate any scrap of Petey Bird’s brain which still remains to science.

  • Elwood


    A British magazine has endorsed O’bummer!

    Well that seals the deal for our leader for sure!

  • Elwood

    @ 15

    And why, pray tell, are you linking to Carla Marinucci’s blog at SFGate which points out what a complete load of crap old Starkers latest wild accusation is?

  • moderate voter

    National political experts are all saying Pete Stark is likely to be defeated on election day, he is considered the most vulnerable Congressman in the US. So these false charges by are just a last ditch effort by Stark’s campaign to ward off the inevitable, which is the end of Stark’s 40 year career in Congress.
    As a veteran activist Democrat I’ve been very impressed with the grassroots nature of Eric Swalwell’s campaign. Swalwell has hundreds of volunteers, he’s got yard signs up all over the district. The candidate himself has been everywhere, I’ve seen him at about 40 events now. He started off a long shot candidate, yet as a result of his hard work – he’s a terrific campaigner – he is now considered the front runner. Swalwell’s campaign has really been something special.
    Pete Stark’s campaign, in contrast, has been virtually non-existant. He has no yard signs up, does not appear to have any volunteers – I’m hearing the few precinct walkers he has are all being paid. Stark appears to have no grassroots support at all, which is why you are seeing these false “hit pieces” in the final days of the campaign.
    The candidate himself – Stark – has been strangely absent from the 15th district. The Chronicle’s political editor last week wrote a story that Pete Stark was seen shuttling his kids around in Maryland. He’s in the middle of a hotly contested Congressional campaign and he’s not even bothering to visit his district to do a little campaigning! Talk about arrogance, I guess meeting and greeting voters is for the little Congressman.
    If Stark loses – I think he will – it isn’t just because he’s running a terrible campaign or because he’s 81 years old. That’s only going to be part of the story. I think what’s coming out in this campaign – something that wasn’t all that well known by voters – is that Pete Stark has major problems in the ethics department. In fact, he’s an ethical disaster.
    We have learned – for example – Pete Stark is steering money from special interest groups into his own personal bank accounts by falsely claiming his wife is his “campaign treasurer”, even though the work is being farmed out to others. Some $300,000 has been steered into the Stark family bank accounts this way. Raising money from special interest groups and scheming to steer it to yourself, that’s about as unethical as you can get.
    Anybody following Alameda County politics as of late can readily see we’ve had ethical problems with our local politicians. A local Assembly women was busted for shoplifting, a county Supervisor apparently was a meth addict – she has since quit, and now we are learning Pete Stark is steering special interest money into his own personal bank accounts – he’s doing this even though he himself is worth 30 million!
    One of the reasons I think this Eric Swalwell is the right choice as the Congressman from the 15th district – he’s a respected Alameda County Prosecutor – is because of all these scandals you’ve had recently with local elected officials. Voters have a chance here to put a straight shootig prosecutor in a local political office, he’ll be the kind of local elected official you can be proud of. Given what’s been going on with our local elected officials lately, Swalwell is the tonic we need. We need ethical people in political office, Eric Swalwell is the right choice for the 15th district.

  • Elwood

    Just for the record, I think Stark is a loathsome piece of crap.

    On the other hand, I wonder what our frequent poster “Moderate Voter” is being paid for his/her effusive praise of Swalwell. It pretty much appears to be the same script over and over.

  • GV Haste

    Swalwell isn’t my favorite candidate and in 2 years, if he is the incumbent, I may well support one of the challengers.

    However, Pete Stark’s campaign reminds me of Whitey Bulgar hiding out in a Santa Monica apartment for 11 years.
    Pete’s been hiding out in Maryland, only seen driving his kids to grammer school.
    You call his local office and they have no idea if or when he may appear in the district. His OWN office.

    Folks, as fast has he has declined these past few years, its only going to pick up steam during he next 26 months should he win re-election.

    If he embarasses himself in public now, think about how he’ll be in two years. Forget about future town halls, they’ll probably end up fewer and fewer.

  • Patty O’Day

    As a Republican, I wouldn’t vote for either of them if I lived in the district. I would leave it empty.

  • GV Haste

    Great logic Patty, So you’d never have a vote for congress for the rest of your life, because a Republican is never going to win in that district.
    You’d better get use to not voting much, because with the new system of “top two” you’re going to be getting lots of races with 2 Democrats as your final choice.

  • Josh thanks for printing my response to the mailer. Your srory is accurate.

  • Truthclubber

    Smellwell NOT a Tea Bagger?

    Well, my sources tell me that the usual tin foil hat gang in Castro Valley (aka East Bay Tea Party), has gathered at their usual hanging out spot (the corner of Redwood Road and Castro Valley Boulevard) with ginormous 4′ x 4′ signs supporting…wait for it…Eric the Smellwell himself.

    If they are doing that, they most certainly are the ones banging on doors for him, and I can only imagine the flyers he is sending to GOP households (you know, the ones with the Smellwell sign right next to the Romnuts/Lyin sign in their front yards).

  • Elwood

    @ 28

    Try to remain calm. You are becoming overexcited. Do not skip any more doses of your meds.

    Lie down with a damp cloth over your forehead until Thursday.

  • Truthclubber

    @29 —

    Elwood! I was told you were there, but did not beLIEve (the Romnuts spelling of that word) it until one of my sources sent me this pic of you in attendance!

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    That’s not Elwood, that’s my HS advisor.

  • Truthclubber

    @31 —

    No wonder you went into the clergy.