McNerney declares victory

In a stunning turn of events, congressional District 11 Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney declared victory just after midnight over Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy.

With three-quarters of the precincts counted, McNerney led by 4 percentage points. He was winning in three of the four counties. Only San Joaquin voters were supporting Pombo and not by as much as one would expect in the congressman’s home county.

Pombo’s campaign aides refused to concede, however, and said they would wait until all the votes have been counted.

“We won this thing — it’s ours,” McNerney said. “I’m going to fight to create new jobs. We’re going to become the country we know we can be. I’m looking to you to help inspire me. It’s
about the people — we won over the monied interests. It’s time to party.”

Pombo, meanwhile, has left his campaign party. His staff says he will hold a press conference on Wednesday.

Here’s what reporter Ryan Huff had to say about McNerney’s campaign party:

Just as the rain started to fall in San Ramon after midnight, the reign of Rep. Richard Pombo came crashing down too.

At 12:12 a.m. Wednesday, McNerney stood in front of 10 American flags and hundreds of cheering supporters to declare victory in a major Congressional upset.

“We won this thing — it’s ours,” he said, constantly interrupted by cheers. “I’m going to fight to create new jobs. We’re going to become the country we know we can be. I’m looking to you to help inspire me. It’s about the people — we won over the monied interests. It’s time to party.”

And just like that, he walked into the crowd like a rock star. People even started dancing to the tunes of the Doobie Brothers’ “Taking It To The Street” and U2’s “Beautiful Day.” Also blasting from the stereo: the Bill Clinton favorite, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

Speaking of the former president, he called McNerney around midnight to congratulate him.

“He told me if I speak up about renewable energy that I can really make a difference,” McNerney said.


Congressional power score card sites

Want to track the Congressional power score card?

Here are some of the top television news web sites that I’ll be checking throughout the evening. If readers find others they want to share, post a comment or send me an e-mail at lvorderbrueggen@cctimes.com and I’ll add them to the list.

ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2006/
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/youdecide2006/index.html
MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/


Did Abramoff send you an e-mail?

Proponents of Proposition 89, the public financing of campaigns initiative, shipped out a creative e-mail that appears to be from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

I didn’t know Abramoff was doing much e-mailing these days. (Has he gone into the pokey yet?)

One highly suspects that Abramoff did not write this e-mail, but here it is:

Dear Reform-Minded Voter,

If Prop 89 becomes law, lobbyists like me will not have the power we once did. This would be a huge problem for my friends and clients.

I was the Capitol’s top lobbyist and I had Washington wired. And now some people call me the poster boy for reform. Boy, that ticks me off. Do people understand that Prop 89 would make people like me and my clients less powerful in Sacramento?

California’s nurses, who are leading the campaign for Prop 89, claim they want to protect voters like they protect patients every day.

HMOs, drug makers, insurers and oil companies don’t need the nurses’ help, which is why they’ve put up millions to defeat Prop 89. Trust me, the special interests have things totally under control in California and it is working just great. That’s why my old lobbying firm set up shop in Sacramento recently. What will happen to them if Californians enact the tough reforms in Prop 89? Is anyone thinking about the lobbyists?

Prop 89 even bans lobbyists from making donations. How would we ever get anything done? Prop 89 strictly limits campaign contributions to ballot measure committees and politicians. You know what that’ll do? Leave us with fewer political ads. Whose idea was that?

And do you really want tougher laws to put politicians and lobbyists in jail? Aren’t California’s jails overcrowded enough?

Please, as my last request before I enter my own prison cell next week, don’t believe the California Nurses Association and the League of Women Voters’ campaign for Yes on 89. California politics has been working just great (for my clients anyway).

Most sincerely,
Jack Abramoff
Please forward my message on to your friends and family.

Editor’s Note: Prop 89, a campaign reform measure sponsored by the California Nurses Association, dramatically reduces the power of special interests over California politicians and limits out-of-control spending on ballot measures. Prop 89 bars lobbyists and state contractors from making political contributions and limits the amount that corporations, unions and other interest groups can contribute to politicians. Prop 89 allows candidates with broad grassroots support to receive funding for their campaigns in exchange for agreeing not to fundraise from special interests (or anyone). Prop 89 also limits corporate contributions to initiative campaigns to $10,000. Learn more about Prop 89.