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CA15: California Labor Federation backs Corbett

It’s not so often that the California Democratic Party and the California Labor Federation end up on different sides of a Bay Area House race.

Ellen CorbettThe labor federation – made up of more than 1,200 AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions representing 2.1 million members – announced Thursday that it has endorsed state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, in the 15th Congressional District

The party endorsed incumbent Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, last month. Republican Hugh Bussell of Livermore also is in the race.

The labor federation announced this and dozens of other endorsements as its biennial pre-primary convention finished up in Oakland. In a news release, the federation said the endorsements are “the launching pad for the massive grassroots voter outreach efforts that will activate tens of thousands of volunteers from now until Election Day.”

Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski said the labor federation’s power “derives from workers coming together on nights and weekends to talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers about the importance of this year’s election. What our grassroots efforts lack in money we more than make up for in face-to-face voter engagement.”

That’s key for Corbett, who very much needs some institutional support to augment her campaign’s meager bankroll. Swalwell’s campaign started 2014 with four times as much money in the bank; consultant Lisa Tucker this week said he raised about $270,000 in this year’s first quarter, and had around $920,000 cash on hand as of March 31. Corbett has not yet disclosed her first-quarter fundraising; the deadline to do so is next Tuesday April 15.

Tucker said Swalwell was on a plane coming back from Washington, D.C., on Thursday afternoon, and she didn’t want to comment on the labor federation’s choice without speaking with him first.

Swalwell, Corbett and Bussell will share a stage for the first time at a League of Women Voters candidates’ forum at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, April 15 in the Castro Valley Library, 3600 Norbridge Ave.

From the “no surprise” desk: The labor federation endorsed longtime friend to labor Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, in his bid for an eighth term, over Democratic challenger Ro Khanna and two Republicans in the 17th Congressional District.

In races for some of the Bay Area’s open legislative seats, the labor federation endorsed Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, in the 10th State Senate District; Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti in the 16th Assembly District; San Jose Councilman Kansen Chu in the 25th Assembly District; and Campbell Councilman Evan Low in the 28th Assembly District. The federation made a dual endorsement in the crowded 15th Assembly District race, backing both Elizabeth Echols and Tony Thurmond over three more Democrats and three additional candidates.

Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

Rep. Eric Swalwell takes Congress to the dogs

Rep. Eric Swalwell, who already had expanded the “Congress at Your Corner” constituent meet-and-greet model to include “Ride With Your Rep” cycling outings, is now inviting 15th Congressional District residents and their pets to join him for “Congress Unleashed.”

Those coming to the event from 10 to 11 a.m. this Sunday, March 30 in Union City’s Drigon Dog Park “will meet and talk to Congressman Swalwell about their ‘pet’ issues, as well as learn about opportunities to adopt and foster dogs from an animal organization,” according to his news release.

“I work to be accessible to all of my constituents, and an outdoor town hall at a dog park is one more way to hear from more East Bay residents about the issues important to them,” Swalwell, D-Dublin, said in the release. “The event also will be an opportunity to find owners for dogs in need of a loving home.”

And what politician doesn’t relish a photo opportunity with cute, fluffy puppies? The freshman lawmaker is being challenged in his bid for a second term by state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and by Alameda County Republican Party vice chairman Hugh Bussell, a software development manager from Livermore.

Posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2014
Under: Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | No Comments »

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:

TO SECURE AND BOLSTER WOMEN’S RIGHTS
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.

Swalwell1

Swalwell2

Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Under: Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 17 Comments »

CA15: President Obama endorses Eric Swalwell

Rep. Eric Swalwell announced Monday that he has President Barack Obama’s endorsement for re-election in the 15th Congressional District.

Eric Swalwell“Congressman Eric Swalwell has proved to be a tireless champion for families throughout California’s 15th District, bringing new energy and ideas to Congress,” Obama said in a statement released by Swalwell’s campaign. “Eric is a strong voice for creating good jobs, expanding economic opportunity, and growing the middle class.”

“Since day one, Eric has shown unwavering dedication to the needs of his constituents – helping veterans secure the benefits they’ve earned, protecting seniors, and ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work,” the president added. “I enthusiastically support Eric Swalwell’s reelection to Congress so the East Bay can continue to move forward.”

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, said he’s honored by the endorsement and has worked with the president to protect the middle class and help workers find jobs. “I look forward to working with President Obama to address the many challenges faced by my constituents, including ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work, taking care of our veterans, and growing our middle class.”

Ellen CorbettSwalwell’s sole challenger is a fellow Democrat, state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro; no other candidates have taken out papers in Alameda or Contra Costa counties so far for this race, and the filing deadline is this Friday, March 7.

“The president tends to endorse incumbents, the president endorsed the incumbent that Congressman Swalwell ran against last time and the incumbent didn’t win,” Corbett said Monday afternoon, referring to former Rep. Pete Stark. “People have an opportunity to take a look at the candidates and choose who they feel is most qualified for the job based on their qualifications and experience.”

Swalwell already has announced endorsements from national Democratic figures such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., as well as from various other members of Congress and all the mayors in his district.

But Corbett has been endorsed by her fellow state Senate Democrats, and drew enough votes at a local caucus last month to deny Swalwell a Democratic Party “pre-endorsement.” Both candidates will make their cases at the California Democratic Party convention this weekend in Los Angeles.

Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Barack Obama, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 17 Comments »

Swalwell: Move Super Bowl if AZ enacts LGBT law

The National Football League should commit to moving 2015’s Super Bowl out of Arizona if that state enacts a law letting businesses refuse to serve people because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, Rep. Eric Swalwell said Wednesday.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to level the threat. (Goodell’s brother, Michael, is gay and was quoted this month on NFL prospect Michael Sam’s decision to publicly disclose his sexuality.)

“In a recent statement, the NFL recognized that its policy emphasizes tolerance and inclusiveness, and I’m asking the NFL to stand by its words,” Swalwell said in a news reelase. “Arizona is fortunate to be the host of the 2015 Super Bowl, and I urge the NFL to commit to moving the 2015 Super Bowl from Arizona if the anti-gay SB 1062 is signed into law. In doing so, it would send a powerful signal that the NFL will not stand by while discriminatory laws are enacted.”

Arizona’s SB 1062 has been passed by both chambers of that state’s legislature, and Gov. Jan Brewer has until Friday to sign or veto it; news reports have said she’s leaning toward the latter, but it’s not yet clear what she’ll do.

(UPDATE @ 4:50 P.M.: It’s a moot point now; Brewer just announced she has vetoed the bill.)

Read Swalwell’s letter, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Under: Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

CA15: DeSaulnier doesn’t recall endorsing Corbett

Corbett-DeSaulnierState Sen. Ellen Corbett announced on her Facebook page Monday that State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier had endorsed her in her campaign to unseat Rep. Eric Swalwell – and this came as news to DeSaulnier.

“I was actually surprised to see it, but having said that, I just talked to her and she says I signed a card eight months ago,” DeSaulnier, D-Concord, said Tuesday. “I don’t remember that.”

“This is a tough situation because they’re both friends, and (former Rep.) Ellen Tauscher is a very, very good friend and she’s supportive of Eric,” DeSaulnier added. “I need to talk to Ellen (Corbett) and see that card. … I think right now there definitely was a miscommunication, and it may be my fault.”

I had called DeSaulnier because it seemed odd that he would take a side in the 15th Congressional District’s intra-party battle between Corbett, D-San Leandro, and Swalwell, D-Pleasanton. DeSaulnier is now running to succeed George Miller in the 11th Congressional District, but still has one more year ahead of him working alongside Corbett, the state Senate Majority Leader.

The crystal ball says: Dual endorsement to come.

UPDATE @ 5:42 P.M.: DeSaulnier just called back to say he spoke with Corbett today, and he indeed is making a dual endorsement of both her and Swalwell.

UPDATE @ 5:52 P.M.: Corbett was completely on the up-and-up here. Her campaign just tweeted out this photo of the endorsement card with DeSaulnier’s signature:
endorsement card

Posted on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, Mark DeSaulnier, U.S. House | 20 Comments »

CA15: Corbett accuses Swalwell of dishonesty

State Senator Ellen Corbett has accused Rep. Eric Swalwell, whom she’s challenging in this year’s election, of a “lack of integrity and honesty” over pay he accepted for the time in which the federal government was shut down last October.

Yet it seems Swalwell kept his word.

This dustup started when KTVU aired a report this week following up on whether Bay Area lawmakers had kept their word about rejecting or giving away their pay during the shutdown. The report said Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, “sent a letter to the House’s Chief Administrative Officer asking to have his pay withheld. But we found out he did get paid.”

Ellen CorbettCorbett, D-San Leandro, posted a statement on Facebook saying that’s a problem.

“This lack of integrity and honesty by Mr. Swalwell is very disappointing,” she wrote. “The public has a right to expect honesty from their elected officials. Thousands of unemployed Californians who are struggling to make ends meet after their benefits were terminated by Congress deserve better.”

However, in the Sept. 30 letter that KTVU cited, Swalwell had asked that “until federal employees who must work during a federal government shutdown are paid, I not be given my paycheck.” Swalwell announced this in a news release the same day: “I will refuse my paycheck until federal employees who must work during the shutdown are paid.”

And that seems to be what happened. Swalwell’s office noted Thursday that the House’s Chief Administrative Officer had notified Swalwell at the time that his salary would be placed in escrow for any pay periods that occurred while the government was shutdown. The government re-opened Oct. 16, Congress voted to give back pay to all federal workers, and the federal workers were paid that month; on Nov. 1, Swalwell was paid his monthly salary for work performed during October.

Posted on Friday, February 14th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

Lawmakers urge Obama to reclassify marijuana

Eighteen House members, including six from the Bay Area, wrote to President Obama today urging him to use his authority to move marijuana off the federal government’s list of most-restricted drugs.

Marijuana currently is listed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, a list for drugs deemed to have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States and a lack of accepted safety under medical supervision. The lawmakers’ letter says this “makes no sense” for marijuana, and calls on the president to instruct Attorney General Eric Holder to reclassify the drug.

“Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system,” the letter says. “Schedule I recognizes no medical use, disregarding both medical evidence and the laws of nearly half of the states that have legalized medical marijuana.”

The letter comes days after Obama told the New Yorker magazine that he believes marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, a comment that has brought criticism from anti-drug activists.

Among those signing the letter were Reps. Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz; Mike Honda, D-San Jose; Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael; Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; and Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton. The only Republican among the 18 signers was Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach.

The Controlled Substances Act gives authority for rescheduling controlled substances to Congress, but it also grants executive branch authority to the U.S. Attorney General and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Several rescheduling bills have gone nowhere in recent years.

“President Obama just told the nation during his State of the Union address that because Congress has been unable to act, he would take executive action where he could on behalf of helping the American people,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access. “The president has the authority to reclassify marijuana and could exercise that authority at any time.”

Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Under: Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Jared Huffman, marijuana, Mike Honda, Obama presidency, Sam Farr, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | No Comments »

Dems ‘pre-endorse’ some Bay Area candidates

Local Democrats voted Saturday to recommend that their state party endorse Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski in the 10th State Senate District, and Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti in the 16th Congressional District.

Some other candidates – including Rep. Eric Swalwell in the 15th Congressional District and Elizabeth Echols in the 15th Assembly District – didn’t have enough votes to win these “pre-endorsements,” but can make their cases at the California Democratic Party convention next month in Los Angeles. And some races were so split as to allow no endorsement at all.

Democrats gathered Saturday for their regional caucus meetings, choosing among their party’s offerings for offices. Per the party’s rules, a candidate who gets 70 percent or more of the vote is recommended for endorsement and placed on the consent calendar to be ratified at next month’s convention in Los Angeles.

If one candidate receives more than 50 percent but less than 70 percent of the vote for a district, the race will go to the caucuses held during the March Convention. And if no candidate gets a majority of the vote, no endorsement will be made in that race.

Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, was kind enough to tweet and Facebook the results from the Region 5 caucus meeting:

In the 17th Congressional District, incumbent Honda, D-San Jose, reportedly got 122 votes to challenger Ro Khanna’s 11 votes at Saturday’s caucus meeting, so Honda goes on the consent calendar for endorsement at the convention.

In the 15th Congressional District, incumbent Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, reportedly got 45 votes to state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett’s 26 votes while three people voted against making any endorsement; Swalwell, having a majority but not 70 percent, will make his case again at the convention.

In the 10th State Senate District, Wieckowski reportedly got 105 votes, patient advocate Roman Reed got eight votes and former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi got no votes, so Wieckowski goes on the consent calendar for endorsement at the convention.

In the 15th Assembly District, Echols – a former Small Business Administration regional administrator – reportedly got 45 votes, former Richmond councilman and school board member Tony Thurmond got 17 votes, East Bay Municipal Utility District board president Andy Katz got 5 votes, attorney Sam Kang got no votes, and four people voted against making an endorsement; Echols, having a majority but not 70 percent, will make her case again at the convention.

In the 25th Assembly District, former Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler reportedly got 18 votes, San Jose Councilman Kansen Chu got 16 votes and Ohlone College Board of Trustees member Teresa Cox got 10 votes, while Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez won no votes. With no candidate achieving a majority, there will be no party endorsement in this race.

After the Region 2 caucus meeting, Sbranti issued a news release announcing he had received 97 percent of the vote for the 16th Assembly District race, and so will be placed on the convention’s consent calendar for endorsement; other Democrats vying for that seat include Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and Orinda Vice Mayor Steve Glazer.

And state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, announced he received a unanimous endorsement recommendation to succeed Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, when the latter retires from his 11th Congressional District at the end of this year. No other Democrats of any renown are seeking the seat.

Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, Mark DeSaulnier, Mary Hayashi, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 7 Comments »

CA15: The year-end finance reports

Freshman Rep. Eric Swalwell raised about three times much as Democratic challenger Ellen Corbett in the final quarter of 2013, leaving him with about four times as much money banked for the 15th Congressional District campaign.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, raised $275,018 in 2013’s final quarter while spending $63,418; his campaign had $823,362 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, with $3,576 in outstanding debts. Corbett, the state Senate majority leader from San Leandro, raised $90,918 in the last quarter of 2013 – by far her best quarter to date – while spending $25,892; she had $208,658 as of Dec. 31 with no outstanding debts.

Posted on Friday, January 31st, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 8 Comments »