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David Harmer in, Tom Del Beccaro out in CD-10

Lisa had reported the possibility in April, but now it’s official: Republican attorney David Harmer – son of former California lieutenant governor and Southern California state legislator John Harmer – says he’ll be a candidate in the 10th Congressional District should Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, be confirmed to the State Department post to which she is nominated.

“Now more than ever, we need Congress to practice prudent fiscal management,” he said in his news release. “Instead, Congress is mortgaging our children’s future with trillions of dollars in new debt. It’s the opposite of the American dream. We’re living beyond our means and leaving the bill for our kids.”

Harmer, of San Ramon, said he believes the district’s voters share his commitment to fiscal responsibility. “The 2008 elections offered a great opportunity for change, but a doubling of the national debt within four years and massive corporate bailouts is not the change we had in mind I am running for Congress to work toward common-sense solutions.”

And although this will be an uphill battle for him – the district has an 18-percentage-point Democratic registration edge – Harmer said he already has raised more than $150,000 for this race. Spokesman Michael Caporusso said if this early support is any indication, “we’re well on our way to raising over $1 million for this election.”

California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette told me this morning he won’t be a candidate – “It’s just not the right time for me,” he said – and we’re hearing that Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf probably won’t seek the seat either (although I couldn’t immediately reach him this morning to confirm).

Other potential GOP candidates include Fairfield City Councilwoman Catherine Moy, who has set up an exploratory committee Web site; 2008 10th District nominee Nicholas Gerber of Moraga; and CBS News Radio National Business Correspondent and former KTVU Channel 2 Business Editor Brian Banmiller.

Posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Elections, Ellen Tauscher, U.S. House | 7 Comments »

Garamendi visits CD10 again today

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, a University of California Regent and California State University trustee, will be the keynote commencement speaker – emphasizing “the important role California’s community colleges play in educating our future workforce and retraining unemployed Californians” – at the Solano Community College graduation ceremony, 7:30 p.m. tonight in Fairfield.

Which, coincidentally, falls within the 10th Congressional District, where Garamendi has declared himself a candidate should Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, be confirmed to the State Department post to which she has been nominated.

And I’m sure the fact that this comes after Garamendi has made official visits to or near the 10th District over and over in the past two weeks is coincidence as well.

Meanwhile, two other 10th District candidates — state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Adriel Hampton of Dublin — are scheduled to speak at a Memorial Day vigil honoring the nearly 5,000 servicemen and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan at 7 p.m. Monday at the Lafayette Crosses on Deerhill Road, facing the Lafayette BART station.

UPDATE @ 3:01 P.M.: The Solano Community College gig tonight may be in Garamendi’s official capacity, but it comes at the start of a weekend-long campaign blitz in and around the district. Tomorrow, starting around 10 a.m., he’ll join residents in Vacaville (just outside the CD10) along the route of the annual Fiesta Day Parade. At 10 a.m. Monday, he’ll join Walnut Creek’s mayor and city council for that city’s Memorial Day service at the Civic Park gazebo, at the corner of North Broadway and Civic Drive. And at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday he’ll address the El Cerrito Democratic Club in the El Cerrito United Methodist Church, 6830 Stockton St.

Posted on Friday, May 22nd, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Elections, Ellen Tauscher, General, John Garamendi, U.S. House | 6 Comments »

Pressing the flesh and working the Web in CD10

There’s a bit of action today in the nascent race to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, in the 10th Congressional District, assuming she’s confirmed to the high-ranking State Department post to which she has been nominated.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is doing a double-header tonight just outside the district’s boundaries. First, wearing his California Commission for Economic Development chairman’s hat, he’s doing a Q-and-A “on future job growth in the area including renewable energy and science and technology employment” with the Tri-Valley Business Council, from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. in McNamara’s Restaurant, 7400 San Ramon Road in Dublin. It’s not a campaign event, but you can bet a fair number of attendees live or own businesses within the 10th District.

Then Garamendi will do a campaign event, talking with the Tri Valley Democratic Club about job development, education and health care “including the benefits shift many Lawrence Livermore Lab retirees are now facing;” that’s at 7:30 p.m. in the IBEW Hall at 6250 Village Parkway in Dublin.

Also today, progressive grassroots Democrat Adriel Hampton of Dublin is launching a drive to “crowdsource” an anti-Drug War policy statement using the collaborative online writing tool MixedInk.

“As Congressman, I’m going to practice what I preach,” Hampton said in a news release. “The job of a representative is to listen to and lead huge groups of people, and that means using new technologies to harness the ideas of many. I’ve picked the Drug War an the issue for my first foray into collaborative policymaking because it has damaged families throughout this district and the whole nation.”

Posted on Monday, May 18th, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher, John Garamendi, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

Most local lawmakers oppose war spending bill

The House of Representatives this afternoon passed the 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act – $96.7 billion in military spending, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan, through Sept. 30 – on a 368-60 vote; the U.S. Senate continues working on its own version.

Most Bay Area House members, unsurprisingly, opposed it: Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; George Miller, D-Martinez; Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough; Mike Honda, D-San Jose; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; and Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma. Voting for the bill were Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton; and Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, while Pete Stark, D-Fremont, was absent.

I spoke a few minutes ago with McNerney, who said that as far as Iraq goes, he supports the additional funding so long as President Obama follows through with his timeline for drawing down troops there.

Afghanistan, McNerney said, is “a little bit more complicated, a little more difficult – I’m very concerned about what’s happening over there. … The president has a good team over there and I want to see him have an opportunity to carry out an acceptable outcome.”

More commentary, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 14th, 2009
Under: Afghanistan, Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, Ellen Tauscher, General, George Miller, Iraq, Jackie Speier, Jerry McNerney, John Boehner, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Honda, Pete Stark, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | No Comments »

Garamendi brings ‘listening tour’ to CD10

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi brought his “listening tour” to Las Positas College in Livermore today, talking with students and faculty about the importance of community colleges in educating our future workforce and retraining unemployed Californians.

Garamendi has made such visits before – I see he was at CSU Northridge in February – but I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone that Las Positas falls within the 10th Congressional District, where Garamendi recently declared he’ll be a special-election candidate to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, if she’s confirmed to the State Department post to which she has been nominated.

So it’s just happy coincidence that Garamendi got to spend some quality time with an auditorium potentially packed with CD10 voters (though in fairness, I’m sure many Las Positas students live in Jerry McNerney’s CD11), blasting recent higher-education cuts and tuition hikes.

“We have lost our way,” he said, according to a news release issued after the visit. “We have lost our understanding that education is the single most important investment for our future workforce in this state.”

Garamendi toured the campus and saw some new construction projects funded by a local bond measure, including a child development center where instruction and childcare for students will be provided, a college center for the arts, and new sports complexes.

Posted on Monday, May 11th, 2009
Under: Ellen Tauscher, John Garamendi, U.S. House | No Comments »

Joan Buchanan enters CD10 race

So much for an “annointment” — Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, today announced she too is entering the prospective race to succeed Rep. Ellen Tauscher in the 10th Congressional District, should Tauscher be confirmed to the State Department post to which she has been nominated.

“We cannot be timid or formulaic. If we do what we’ve been doing in government, we will get more of the same. These times require leaders with solid financial skills, a willingness to be bold and the creativity to shape and select the right innovations,” Buchanan wrote in a letter e-mailed to to friends and supporters and posted on her campaign Web site. “Those are the qualities you told me were right for the times last November when you sent me to Sacramento. I am grateful for your support. Now, I have a rare chance to shape our nation’s future in ways we hadn’t anticipated.”

Buchanan has been eyeing the race since Tauscher’s nomination last month; her formal declaration of candidacy comes one day after that of Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who has shifted his ambitions from the 2010 gubernatorial race to CD-10. Both have thrown their hats into the ring after state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, secured endorsements from Tauscher, Rep. George Miller and most of Contra Costa County’s labor groups.

UPDATE @ 2:15 P.M. THURSDAY: I just spoke with Buchanan.

“We actually made the decision the end of last week,” Buchanan said Thursday afternoon. “I’m running for Congress more than I’m running against Mark or against John or against anyone else who jumps into the race … because there are many issues I care deeply about.”

Foremost among those would be the sorry state of California’s education and health care, she said. “I believe the voters are entitled to a vigorous debate on these issues and the other issues that affect their lives on a daily basis, I look forward to a competitive race.”

Buchanan said she’s “prepared to put in the time and the effort it takes” to win.

“I’ve got a great campaign consultant in Mary Hughes – she’s the one who helped Ellen win the district in 1996 and again in 1998,” Buchanan said. “This will be my 17th campaign in 21 years, and I really believe in grassroots efforts … and we’re going to start releasing a list of our supporters over the next few weeks.”

“I recognize that in many ways I’m the new kid on the block – I’ve only been in state government for less than a year, but I also know what its like to be a parent – I’ve been a single parent of five children since 1992,” she noted. Combine that with her extensive education experience as a school board member, her expertise in business finance and operations and her strong work ethic, and she’s the right person for the job, she contended.

Read the full text of Buchanan’s letter, after the jump…
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Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher, Joan Buchanan, John Garamendi, Mark DeSaulnier, U.S. House | No Comments »

Who’s afraid of the big, bad Garamendi?

Not Adriel Hampton, apparently. Although Lt. Gov. John Garamendi yesterday entered the prospective race to succeed Rep. Ellen Tauscher (should she be confirmed to the high-ranking State Department post to which she has been nominated), and although state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, already has locked up a slew of labor and other endorsements (including Tauscher’s), Hampton — who says he’s the most progressive of the Democrats eager to run for the seat — today announced he the hiring of “a national fundraiser and assembly of a seasoned team of grassroots supporters.”

“This campaign is about the war of ideas,” Hampton said in his news release. “I’m taking a message of hope and progressive change to voters from Isleton to Livermore, and I’m excited to have a winning team at my side.”

The private investigator and former journalist said he has hired Kenneth S. Christensen, a partner in the Democratic DC-based firm Christensen & Associates Inc.; Christensen’s experience includes consulting presidential, gubernatorial, U.S. Senatorial, U.S. Congressional and statewide Democratic campaigns in over 40 states, and his firm boasts of having helped defeat six incumbent Republican Congressmen — including Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, felled in 2006 by Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Hampton said he also has on his team Meghan Harvey, a “well-known social media practitioner;” John Dunbar, “a data management specialist and veteran of several winning citywide and district races in San Francisco;” and “citizen engagement expert” Daniel Bevarly of Florida.

“This is a team that revels in taking down Goliaths, whether they be entranced bureaucratic systems or professional politicians,” Hampton said. “We are progressive, relentless, fearless.”

Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher, General, John Garamendi, Mark DeSaulnier, U.S. House | No Comments »

John Garamendi names campaign staffers

Though he may have been “checking out” the possibility of running for the 10th Congressional District seat that Ellen Tauscher presumably is about to vacate, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi seemed to be moving on with his 2010 gubernatorial bid today as he rolled out some campaign staff announcements.

San Francisco-based syndicated progressive talk-radio host Peter Collins, 55, will be the Garamendi for Governor campaign’s “messaging and communications” consultant; Collins, whose radio career stretches back 27 years, has done similar campaign work in the past for Nancy Pelosi, John Vasconcellos, Pete McCloskey and Michael Yaki.

And Brian Young — who from 1995 though 2000 was the Democratic National Committee’s information-services director — will be the Garamendi campaign’s chief techology officer, overseeing all online services and strategy. Young has worked for Sun Microsystems in the Bay Area and oversees, as well as doing technical consulting for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in Washington, D.C.

Posted on Monday, April 6th, 2009
Under: 2010 governor's race, Ellen Tauscher, John Garamendi, U.S. House | No Comments »

Tauscher introduces weapons acquisition reform bill

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, introduced a bill Tuesday designed to reform the way the nation buys its weapons arsenal. The bill matches a similar bill introduced in the Senate last month.

Here is Tauscher’s press release:

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), chair of the House Armed Services’ Strategic Forces Subcommittee, and Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.), chair of the House Budget Committee and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 on Tuesday, March 31.

The bill would reform our defense acquisition programs to avoid unreasonable cost and schedule estimates, unrealistic performance expectations, and technology flaws, to hold down costs and reduce delays.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced the same bill in the Senate last month.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Under: Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »

New York congressional race too close to call

The New York Times reports this morning that Tuesday’s special election to replace Kirsten Gillibrand is too close to call.

“A mere 65 votes separated the two candidates late Tuesday in a Congressional contest in upstate New York that received national attention and was widely seen as a referendum on the Obama administration’s economic recovery efforts,” wrote the NYT.

Why do we care in California?

Both parties are closely watching the outcome in this race for signs of voter backlash against Democrats. A Republican win could nudge the GOP to target the upcoming special election to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo. Pending Senate confirmation, Tauscher will take an under secretary position in the U.S. State Department.

Granted, these are very different districts.

The New York district is heavily Republican while Democrats have an 18-point registration lead in Tauscher’s 10th congressional district. The math heavily favors a Democratic win in CD10 while the Republican candidate in New York, under typical circumstances, should have the advantage.

Upstate New York voters there elected Democrat Gillibrand (who left to take the U.S. Senate seat held by Hillary Clinton)  to Congress during the Democrats’ 2006 sweep across the country and it is widely viewed as a bellweather political district.

Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »