CA15: Swalwell feeling heat on women’s issues?

Perhaps Rep. Eric Swalwell is feeling some heat from his Democratic challenger after all.

State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is both running on her state legislative record and trying to make a play more specifically for women’s votes this year. Among the three priorities on her campaign website:

I will push back against the seemingly endless efforts to roll back the progress that generations of women before us have made. During my time in the State Legislature I passed legislation expanding the rights of victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault as well as voted in favor of expanding access to maternity leave and services. In 2011 I was awarded the Women of Achievement Award by the National Women’s Political Caucus of California. This year, I secured continued funding from the Violence Against Women Act to ensure that California women can get no costs forensic exams.

So it’s probably not coincidence that Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, sent a mailer to his 15th Congressional District constituents in the past few days touting how he’s “standing strong for women” by fighting to raise wages for women and their families through the Paycheck Fairness Act; protecting the work-family balance by supporting the Healthy Families Act to ensure paid sick leave for workers; supporting an increase in the minimum wage, as two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women; and supporting the Strong Start for America’s Children Act to increase access to affordable, quality child care.



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.

  • Marga

    Corbett has done well by garnering the female vote – which she has explicitly gone after time after time.

    I don’t know that it’s a good idea for Swalwell to try to imitate that practice. Now, I’m predisposed to dislike Swalwell, but that mailer, to me, seems so incredibly paternalistic and patronizing that it makes me want to slap him. “Helping women suceed?” Who the hell is that kid who thinks we need /his/ help, we can’t do it on our own?

    But Swalwell is right to be concerned. In 2012 he received only about a quarter of the Democratic vote – he won because the district is about 40% Republican. But a Republican candidate has just entered the race and while Swalwell is now the incumbent, it’s not clear that he has gotten the majority of the Democratic support. He will be contending the party’s endorsement in Los Angeles, and he’s actually paying for delegates to go to the convention and vote for him. Still, if this goes to the floor, as it should, he might find he doesn’t have the grass root support he needs to get it.

    BTW, I wrote about the new Republican candidates in this race and Honda’s here: http://sanleandrotalk.voxpublica.org/2014/03/05/republican-candidates-join-the-fray-in-races-against-honda-swalwell/

  • Elwood

    “I’m predisposed to dislike Swalwell”

    And why is that, Marga?

    He’s not lunatic lefty enough for you?

  • Marga

    Aren’t lunatic and lefty synonyms for you, Elwood?

  • RRSenileColumnist

    I am sick and tired of pols patronizing women. Remember Geraldine Ferraro telling then-VP Geo. H.W.Bush in 1984, “Don’t patronize me.”
    Women were thrilled, then they voted for Reagan.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Code Pink members fit the description

  • @SLtalk:disqus, you must get your information from EBCitizen.com . . . that math and numbers you espouse are WAY off.

    Here’s the 15th Congressional District’s voter registration breakdown:

    > 48.2% Democrat
    > 21.8% Republican
    > 20.9% Decline-To-State/No-Party-Preference
    > 9.1% Other

    Now, the Decline-To-State and “Other” tend to vote more like the 48.2% of the District’s Democratic registrants (based on the 2012 June Primary election results where self-identified Tea Party candidate Chris Pareja received … wait for it … 21.7% of the vote, e.g., pretty much mirroring the Republican voter registration).

    In the November 2012 general election, President Barack Obama received 68% of the vote whereas Mitt Romney received only 29.8% (still not “40% Republican”) . . . as we know Congressman Swalwell received 52.1% of the vote in the November 2012 election, running only 16% behind President Obama. If Eric Swalwell only received the support from 1 out of 4 Democrats in November 2012, then Pete Stark would still be a congressman today.

    The token Republican supposedly running in #CA15 — who may not even qualify for the June 2014 ballot — would need to receive AT LEAST 34% of the vote to make it to November in a runoff against Congressman Swalwell. In a low-turnout June primary where the candidate with the best ground game and most money for direct mail and T.V./radio ads (e.g., Congressman Swalwell) has the edge, it’s more likely Ellen Corbett doesn’t make it to November.

    Oh, and Marga, I hope you’re in L.A. for the convention — Ellen Corbett won’t be able to find 300 delegates to take the endorsement fight to the floor. Just won’t happen.

  • Marga

    Neither voter registration or general election presidential numbers are particularly useful to determine what percentage of the electorate will vote Republican vs. Democrat in a June Congressional race. Nor can you look at historic numbers in CD15 because there were no Republican candidates who run in the only Congressional race after redistricting. Pareja ran as an independent.

    So what I did last year, was go and look at the primary results in the June 2010 election for those cities which are now part of CD17. Roughly 40% of the people who cast a vote in the cities within CD17 in June 2010, voted for a Republican candidate.

    I also looked at the November 2012 vote and compared it with the November 2010 vote for the cities in the new CD17. I found that Stark only lost 14% of the vote in the cities that he had formerly represented – but he lost a full third of the vote that had previously gone to the Democratic candidate in the cities that he had not represented. Put together the numbers were high enough to let Swalwell get elected. But don’t be mistaken: the majorif Swalwell’s vote is Republican. He can’t afford to lose it. And now he might.

    But hey, I’m sure that Swalwell has polled and if the numbers are good for him, he would release the results.

  • JohnW

    Corbett is no Hillary Clinton. Women aren’t going to get all worked up about electing a woman to Congress the way they (and many men) were eager to elect the first female POTUS. On the contrary, not to sound sexist, but I think a young good looking guy who is on the right side of the issues will have as much or more advantage with women voters as a female candidate trying to dump the incumbent will.

  • Marga

    And yet Swalwell is concerned enough to send this mailer.

    In any case, Corbett’s strategy helped her become Mayor in San Leandro, get to the Assembly and the Senate. I have no way of knowing if it will continue working, but clearly it’s as good a strategy locally as nationally.

  • Elwood

    Obviously, you’ve not read many of my posts. But nice try, though.

  • Richard Woulfe

    Corbett is in complete fantasy land thinking she can beat Eric Swalwell, he is highly regarded by everybody. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyner put him in quasi- leadership position shortly after he arrived in DC – at age 33 mind you, Swalwell was star of incoming frosh Congressional class. Corbett’s campaign is just wacky – she has no issues to run on, nobody of any stature supporting her – except her cronies in State Senate ( not counting DeSaulnier who is throwing her overboard) – on top of that she is coming from the California State senate – which has the sour odor of corruption hanging all over it these days with all these convictions and indictments of members lately. Corbett, like this Hayashi lady, are just living in a dream-world from what I can see. The Hayashi candidacy – and the Corbett candidacy are just outright ridiculous at every level, these two can’t seem to get running for office out of system, neither has any chance to going to Washington or Sacramento, people are just scratching their heads wondering why they are running.

  • JohnW

    Well, it may come down to an East district vs West district/organized labor thing, kind of like Ukraine.

    I voted for Pete Stark last time, as a protest vote against a half-term city councilman / junior prosecutor getting a Congressional seat by default, with no credible competition. I really wanted Stark to hang on until 2014 (but keep his mouth shut), so that there could be a real contest in 2014 — perhaps a 3 way with Swalwell/Corbett/RoK.

    But Swalwell is there now. Seems to be doing a good job (whatever that means in a GOP House where the minority party has no say). I have no reason to vote him out. I live the San Ramon part of the district. We seem to be pretty much an afterthought where Swalwell is concerned, because he has to worry more about the San Leandro side of the district.

  • Marga

    We’re not actually in his district. But yes, he’s been making strong overtures towards Hayward, which I think is actually a mistake. If I was him, I’d consolidate my support among tri-valley democrats, who don’t know Ellen and don’t owe her anything.

  • Richard Woulfe

    Swalwell has done a very good job as Congressman so far, why would voters dump him after a single House term? I just don’t see Corbett beating Swalwell, voters are not going to throw out a Congressman that’s doing a good job to give the job to a termed out State Senator. No way that’s going to happen.

  • JohnW

    Not that I am supporting Corbett, but I like to stir up trouble.

    She might have an opportunity to make some headway in the San Ramon part of the district. Other than riding in Danville’s Fourth of July parade (Danville’s not in the district), Swalwell’s Tri-Valley attention seems to be Dublin/Pleasanton. Central Contra Costa is Ellen Tauscher territory, and Swalwell’s her guy. However, Tauscher’s base was more in Danville and Walnut Creek, which are not part of the district.

    If nothing else, Swalwell might give a little more attention to San Ramon if Corbett started making some appearances here.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Corbett wants to rack up enough votes for Dems to remember her. Her chance of winning this race: zero. Unless Swalwell is filmed mutilating a horse, he has nothing to worry about.

  • JohnW

    Anything is possible with photoshop..