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Dean Andal to meet with Minutemen in Dublin

The Golden Gate Minutemen and Castro Valley Minutemen — grassroots anti-illegal-immigration activists who take their name from the Minuteman Project, sometimes-armed citizens’ patrols which began monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border in 2005, earning praise as patriots from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a panning as vigilantes from President George W. Bush — are meeting tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 20) morning with 11th Congressional District Republican nominee Dean Andal, who they say has been “sympathetic and supportive,” according to their e-mail.

“We thank Dean for his support and his zero tolerance against Sanctuary Cities and Illegal Invasion,” the e-mail says. “He will meet with us and discuss our mutual interests and plans for Restoring the Republic. Please come & greet Dean. Dean has arranged a special meeting for us to answer any and all questions. Minutemen and Patriots in Alameda County can’t miss this!”

They’re convening the Q&A at the Bagel Street Cafe, 4101 Dublin Blvd. in Dublin, at 11 a.m., and afterward intend to do some precinct-walking for the candidate. Andal, a former Assemblyman and former Board of Equalization member from Stockton, is challenging freshman incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Posted on Friday, September 19th, 2008
Under: Dean Andal, Elections, General, Immigration, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | No Comments »

Questions over Dean Andal’s fundraising claim

There’s an article on PolitickerCA.com in which Dean Andal — the Republican former Assemblyman and former Board of Equalization member from Stockton who’s challenging freshman Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton — insists his campaign, beset by reports of lackluster fundraising and a probe into a development deal in which he was a lobbyist, is doing just fine.

“No challenger in the country has raised as much money as we have,” the article quoted Andal as having said yesterday.

Andal had raised $829,184 as of June 30 compared to McNerney’s $2,084,313.

I checked the Cook Political Report’s latest list of competitive House races, jotted down 27 races considered toss-ups, and eliminated nine of those which are open seats. Of the remaining 18 races in which someone’s taking on an incumbent, I found that 11 of those challengers — three Republicans and eight Democrats — had raised more money by June 30 than Andal’s $829,184 (which could have something to do with why Cook moved the McNerney-Andal race from “toss-up” to “lean Democratic” last month).

Richard Temple, a spokesman for Andal’s campaign, said Andal wasn’t correctly quoted. “I believe he is referring to cash on hand. As of the latest campaign finance reports Andal had over $400,000 more cash on hand than other Republican challengers in what the Cook Report deemed to be toss-up races (at mid-year).”

I asked PolitickerCA.com reporter Ben van der Meer about this, and he said Andal “did not mention cash on hand in our conversation at all.”

Temple also said Andal “talks about raising money locally, in his district; probably 80% percent of his money is coming from the district and Jerry McNerney is probably the reverse.” He added that Andal’s fundraising by now has surpassed $1 million, putting him right on target for meeting his goals. In fact, less than an hour after our conversation, Temple’s office issued a news release saying Andal had broken the million-dollar mark and has more than $800,000 cash on hand:

In addition to the area’s traditional donor base, a recent Andal direct mail fundraising appeal generated contributions from hundreds of new local donors.

“We’re bringing new people into the process,” said Andal. “And that’s very gratifying.”

As for who’s raising a higher percentage of his money from within the CA-11, I couldn’t find absolute numbers but it would appear — based on lists of top metro areas and top ZIP codes — that Andal has the edge.

Posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
Under: campaign finance, Dean Andal, Elections, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | No Comments »

Stockton’s Republican mayor endorses McNerney

Stockton Mayor Ed Chavez, a Republican, has endorsed Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, for re-election over GOP challenger and Stockton resident Dean Andal.

The mayor of the 11th Congressional District‘s largest city — also a 30-year Stockton Police veteran, including 10 years as chief — has been “impressed with what Congressman McNerney has done in his short tenure in office,” he said in McNerney’s news release.

“He’s back in California every weekend — in fact, it’s nearly impossible to spend a Saturday in Stockton without running into him,” Chavez said. “He’s committed to serving his constituents well by helping create family-wage jobs in renewable energy, bringing home federal funds for important infrastructure projects in our region, working to make sure veterans have access to services they’ve earned, and being open, available and accessible to members of our community. He puts the needs of his constituents first; that’s why he earns my endorsement.”

It’s the second hometown snub this week for Andal, a former Assemblyman and Board of Equalization member; McNerney was endorsed Tuesday by Dr. Everett Low of Stockton, who serves beside Andal on the board of the Lincoln Unified School District.

Posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2008
Under: Dean Andal, Elections, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | No Comments »

Cook: McNerney-Andal race no longer a toss-up

The widely observed Cook Political Report has changed its rating for California’s 11th Congressional District, where first-term Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney is challenged by Republican Dean Andal, from “toss up” to “lean Democratic.” Here’s Cook’s rundown:

Although this race is still likely to be very competitive, evidence suggests freshman Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney’s prospects of coming back to Washington have improved a bit over the past several months. Not only has former GOP Assemblyman Dean Andal turned in several sub-par fundraising quarters in a row, but he has also spent a lot of the last month on the defensive, answering questions about his role as a consultant for a community college development project.

In June, a San Joaquin civil grand jury report took the San Joaquin Delta College Board of Trustees to task for misappropriation of a $250 million public grant to build a new campus. The report said board members violated the law by leaking information from their deliberations on the location of the campus to a developer, PCCP Mountain House LLC. The report alleged that PCCP’s consultant, quickly revealed to be Andal, improperly used his knowledge of the closed-session deliberations to lobby board members to pursue a more expensive location to develop.

Andal has denied ever having improper conversations, but the story has lent Democrats new ammunition for ads. The DCCC was already planning on defining Andal before Andal or his allies could take to the air, and they were planning to portray his legislative voting record as quixotically libertarian. Now, they will be hitting Andal from a few different angles, and environmental groups have expressed interest in piling on by making Andal the same kind of target they made former GOP Rep. Richard Pombo in 2006.

To regain even footing in this race, Andal will need to find a way to reclaim the offensive and put the spotlight back on McNerney. Even in a district McCain should carry, that will be difficult to do in an expensive media market unless an outside group like Freedom’s Watch makes a serious investment here. Democrats also note that in a political atmosphere so dominated by the energy issue, McNerney’s background in wind energy may provide the incumbent with a unique boost.

McNerney should be considered a very slight favorite as the campaign enters its final months.

Posted on Thursday, August 21st, 2008
Under: Dean Andal, Elections, General, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | No Comments »

Let the McNerney v. Andal smackdown begin.

Interesting item in a post on Daily Kos today:

CA-11: Quick note about Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney in CA-11; he received fewer votes in his primary yesterday than his Republican opponent, Dean Andal, did in his.

This isn’t terrible news, and it may not mean much…but it’s hardly thrilling, either. I’d consider McNerney’s race “lean-Dem/tossup”, and he is certainly one of the most endangered Democrats this cycle.

mcnerneyportrait.jpgIndeed, checking the numbers from Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Santa Clara counties, it looks as if McNerney totaled 34,181 to Andal’s 35,176. (That’s as of now; the numbers could change as additional absentee ballots are counted before the results are certified.) That’s a difference of 995 votes, which is 1.43 percent of all the votes cast for the two of them in their respective primaries.

The National Republican Congressional Committee — which has had McNerney on its hit list for removal practically since the day he was sworn in to replace House Resources Committee chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy — fired off a news release this morning describing Andal as “well-positioned” to win:

andal.jpgDean Andal has earned a solid reputation from his career in public service, including his service in the California State Assembly where he was a strong advocate for open government and accountability. He carried his principles for lower taxes throughout his service on the California Board of Equalization, where he fought hard for taxpayers, saving them millions of dollars.

Andal will take on freshman Democrat Jerry McNerney, who has quickly established a long and liberal voting record. In just two year’s time, McNerney has repeatedly voted for the largest tax increase in American history. He opposed funding for America’s military men and women in uniform even when members of the liberal House Democratic leadership supported it.

McNerney was also the beneficiary of millions of dollars in outside interest group advertisements and cash in 2006 from groups like MoveOn.org, the very same organization that questioned the patriotism of Army General David Petraeus. McNerney has refused to condemn their despicable attacks or decline the left-wing organization’s money.

The NRCC also noted President Bush carried the 11th Congressional District in 2000 with 53% of the vote and in 2004 with 54%.

But that’s not the complete picture. Let us parse:

(1.) No problems with the first paragraph describing Andal’s record.

(2.) For the second paragraph, I think McNerneyites would translate this into, “He wants to repeal President Bush’s tax cuts for the richest Americans (though he also wants to roll back the estate tax), and has resisted funding the war in Iraq while trying to expand benefits for veterans” — both of which are solid platform planks as the President and the war reach new depths of unpopularity.

(3.) McNerney did get a lot of money and boots-on-the-ground support from liberal and environmental organizations in 2006 because Pombo was such a ripe target, and he’s likely to get some this year too in order to keep the district Democratic. So far, however, he’s doing pretty well on his own: As of May 14, his campaign had $1,228,907 cash on hand while Andal had $508,945. It’s an expensive district in which to campaign, straddling the San Francisco and Sacramento television markets, so money’s going to be important. And McNerney has spent a lot of time doing his “Congress At Your Corner” meet and greets with constiuents in every nook and cranny of his district, which sprawls from Lodi to Morgan Hill; don’t underestimate the advantage of a highly visible incumbency.

(4.) In terms of voter registration, when the radically redistricted California 11th faced its first election with its new lines in 2002, it was 46.89 percent Republican to 38.07 Democrat — an 8.82-percentage-point gap — with 10.76 percent of voters declining to state an affiliation. By the time McNerney defeated Pombo in 2006, it was 42.95 percent Republican to 37.33 percent Democrat — a 5.62-percentage-point gap — with 16.04 percent declining to state. And today, it’s 41.01 percent Republican to 38.6 percent Democrat — a 2.41-percentage-point gap — with 16.73 percent declining to state. Though Republicans still outnumber Democrats, the district seems to be well into its purple phase, moving from red toward blue. (Note that Andal-over-McNerney percentage-point edge in their respective primaries Tuesday was smaller than the district’s current Republican-over-Democratic registration edge.)

[[UPDATE @ 7:35 A.M. THURSDAY: I also should've noted here that the district's Republican voters had good reasons to come to the polls in strength Tuesday, including a three-way race in the 10th Assembly District GOP primary and a four-way race in the 15th Assembly District GOP primary.]]

No doubt, the 11th Congressional District is the Bay Area’s only real fight this year. But as the general election season starts firing up, look behind the hype to see what’s really going on — it’ll make things much more interesting, I promise you.

Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
Under: Dean Andal, Elections, General, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | No Comments »

Jerry McNerney: Will he or won’t he?

Will Jerry McNerney throw his superdelegate support to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama while the race is still on, or will he stay mum?

Sure, I’m picking on him a bit. He’s not the only East Bay Congressman who has not yet made the choice – Pete Stark hasn’t, either – but McNerney’s the one with the most to lose.

Stark, D-Fremont, was elected to the House in 1972 and has been there ever since; he now chairs the powerful Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. His 13th Congressional District is registered 53.6 percent Democrat, 18.5 percent Republican. In his past four re-elections, he won with 70.5 percent in 2000, 71.1 percent in 2002, 71.7 percent in 2004 and 74.9 percent in 2006 – stronger each time.

In February’s presidential primary, Democrats in Stark’s district went 57.3 percent for Clinton, 38.3 percent for Obama. But although Stark’s temper and (ahem) plain speech sometimes get him into hot water, he clearly has little to lose in endorsing either candidate.

mcnerneyportrait.jpgOn the other hand, McNerney, D-Pleasanton, is a freshman who’s among the National Republican Congressional Committee’s top targets for unseating this year.

In 2006 he toppled House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, in a 53.3 percent to 46.7 percent race. Pombo was beset with accusations of ethics problems, and McNerney was buoyed by a flood of grassroots activists who came in from outside the district to knock doors, work the phones, etc.

Today, McNerney’s 11th Congressional District – mostly in San Joaquin County, but with swaths of Alameda, Contra Costa and San Joaquin counties – is registered 41.3 percent Republican; 38.5 percent Democrat; and 16.6 percent decline-to-state. As of March 31, he had more campaign money in the bank – $1,153,586 – than his Republican challenger, Dean Andal – $531,817 – but the race is young and nobody expects a Stark-style cakewalk in McNerney’s district.

Democrats in McNerney’s district in February voted 54.1 percent for Clinton, 39.9 percent for Obama. McNerney in early March told the San Francisco Chronicle he would “make a decision when I have to… I’m going to let the voters decide for themselves.”

Surely he has formed his own opinion by now, right? It’s hard to believe that any member of Congress hasn’t by now, after all that’s been said and done. It’s easy to believe, however, that McNerney doesn’t want to make a choice now which could put him at odds either with a majority of his district’s voters, or with the activists who helped him win that seat, or with the eventual nominee; it’s easy to believe he doesn’t want his words now to show up in Andal’s ads this fall.

But the time may be drawing nigh.

The latest Associated Press figures show Clinton still leads Obama in superdelegate endorsements (268 to 248) but Obama leads in overall delegates (pledged and the officially unpledged superdelegates), 1,736 to 1,602; a candidate needs 2,025 delegates to clinch the nomination. The superdelegate contest has gotten hot in recent days; much is being made of former Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew’s superdelegate defection from Clinton to Obama, yet poll numbers show Clinton resurgent.

So, Congressman McNerney – will you play it safe and wait until the nomination is a fait accompli, or will you speak out about who you believe should be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States?

Posted on Friday, May 2nd, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Dean Andal, Democratic Party, Elections, General, Hillary Clinton, Jerry McNerney, Pete Stark, U.S. House | No Comments »

Campaigns around the Bay this weekend

  • Bay Area supporters of Barack Obama will decsend upon Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza at noon tomorrow, Saturday, April 19, as part of a Nation for Change Nationwide Rally in advance of next Tuesday’s crucial Pennsylvania primary election. Among those scheduled to speak in Oakland are Change Congress founder Lawrence Lessig; Oakland City Councilwoman Nancy Nadel; Richmond City Councilman Tony Thurmond; prominent Obama fundraiser and volunteer Tony West; and the Rev. Elouise Oliver of the East Bay Church of Religious Science in Oakland.
  • Local supporters of Hillary Clinton will gather from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at an Oakland home for a “last big weekend push into Pennsylvania” via phone-banking (BYO cell phone). E-mail hillary4prez@att.net for location and other details.
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, is kicking off his re-election campaign in earnest Saturday with door-to-door canvassing in Dublin, Stockton, Tracy and Morgan Hill; volunteers are asked to RSVP though his campaign Web site. He’s unopposed in June’s primary, and faces Stockton Republican Dean Andal in November.
  • State Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, kicks off her re-election campaign (she’s being challenged by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, in the June 3 primary) at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, joined by state Senate President Pro Tem Elect Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and former state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, at her campaign headquarters, 121 9th St. (between Mission and Howard) in San Francisco. After bagels and coffee, they’ll hit the streets and the phones all morning…
  • 9th State Senate District candidate and former Assembly Majority Leader Wilma Chan is holding a fundraiser at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 20, at a Los Gatos home; see her campaign Web site for more details. Her rival in June’s Democratic primary is Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley.
  • Posted on Friday, April 18th, 2008
    Under: Barack Obama, Carole Migden, Darrell Steinberg, Dean Andal, Elections, General, Hillary Clinton, Jerry McNerney, Loni Hancock, Wilma Chan | No Comments »

    House doesn’t override SCHIP veto

    The House today failed to override President Bush’s December veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization and expansion. The vote was 260-152 in favor, but a veto override requires a two-thirds majority (290 votes).

    Here’s what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, had to say in urging her colleagues to override the veto:

    pelosi12-14-06.jpgFor the past year we’ve been talking about the subject of how we make America healthier, how we bring many more children who are eligible to be enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. We’ve had the debates, we’ve had the outside advocacy of the March of Dimes, of the Easter Seals, of the AMA, the AARP, of the Families USA, the YWCA, of the Catholic Hospitals Association, almost any organization that you can name, that has anything to do with the health of the American people, has endorsed the legislation that we have before us. That is important to the children, their families, to their communities, to the economic stability of their states, who have to provide health insurance for these children.

    In the last few days, we’ve all been working together in a bipartisan way to come up with an economic stimulus package. The recognition that we need a stimulus package points to the need further for this SCHIP legislation to become law. Let’s make us working in a bipartisan way on the stimulus package a model for how we approach other issues as well.

    This SCHIP package has had strong bipartisan support from the start, in the House and in the Senate. In fact, the Senate has a veto-proof majority. Senator Hatch and Senator Grassley have been major architects of this legislation, two very distinguished Republican leaders in the United States Senate.

    The issue comes down to what is happening in America’s households today. Unemployment is up, housing starts are down. The price of gasoline and food and health care is up, the stock market is down. So the indicators that some that are felt very closely and intimately by America’s working families and some that are felt by our economy, all point to the need for us to take a new direction. And that new direction says, ‘What can we do that is fiscally sound, that meets the needs of the children, that has bipartisan support? And strengthens our country by improving the health of our people?’

    One of the things that we can do is take the lead. Many children have come here to advocate on behalf of all children in our country, whether it was through the March of Dimes, Easter Seals, or other organizations. And that is to vote to override the President’s veto. Let’s remove all doubt in anyone’s mind that this Congress of the United States understands our responsibility to the children, understands our responsibility to the future.

    We’ve had the debate. We know the facts, we know the figures. It’s just a decision that people have to make about what is inside of them, about what their priorities are. And I hope the message from this Congress will be that that we care about the children and we care about enough about them that we will vote to override this veto.

    Said House Minority Leader John Boehner, D-Ohio, after the vote:

    boehner2.jpgAfter two failures to override the President’s vetoes of their flawed SCHIP bill, I hope congressional Democrats finally end the political games that have dominated this debate and work with Republicans to focus on low-income children first. The Majority’s bill would shortchange low-income children and expand SCHIP coverage to illegal immigrants, adults, and those who already have private health insurance. This is particularly irresponsible at a time when our economy is slowing down and American families are feeling the strain from rising costs of living.

    Democrats and Republicans alike established SCHIP a decade ago to ensure our nation’s low-income children have access to high-quality health care. Likewise, just a month ago, both parties overwhelmingly voted to extend SCHIP into 2009 and cover the program’s funding shortfall. Unfortunately, that spirit of cooperation has consistently taken a back seat to the Majority’s ongoing efforts to politicize this issue in order to move more Americans from private insurance to government-run health care. As we have been for the past year, Republicans are ready to work in a bipartisan way to reauthorize SCHIP and keep its focus on low-income children. After this latest failed attempt to enact its flawed legislation, I hope the Majority is finally ready to do the same.

    You say “poh-TAY-toe,” I say “poh-TAH-toe.” More after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
    Under: Dean Andal, General, Jerry McNerney, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Pete Stark, U.S. House | No Comments »