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CA17: San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed backs Khanna

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has endorsed Ro Khanna in his bid to unseat fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda.

Chuck Reed

Reed, a Democrat who’s term-limited out of office at the end of this year, said Friday that as he prepares to leave public life, he’s been thinking about the future challenges Silicon Valley will face.

“I think our Silicon Valley team in Washington would be greatly strengthened if we add Ro Khanna,” he said, particularly for the sake of changing federal taxes and regulations that impede the region’s economy. “Silicon Valley’s interests would be his number-one priority.”

Khanna “understands the tech sector and the global challenges to the valley,” Reed said, and can make the region’s case “in a way that can get bipartisan support, which is certainly needed in the House.”

Reed said he called Honda earlier Friday to inform him of the choice, which was “a sad conversation.”

“It’s nothing personal,” he said, adding Honda is “an affable guy” and “has done a good job, but I think we need to step up our game in Washington.”

Khanna’s campaign was not immediately available for comment Friday.

Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said Reed’s endorsement of Khanna is “not at all surprising.”

“Both politicians believe in stripping public servants of retirement benefits – even if that means decimating our public safety network in Reed’s case – and both have been labeled Republican lites,” he said. “Reed may call himself a Democrat, but his track record of pushing to overhaul unions, oppose gay marriage, block minimum wage increases and eliminate limits on campaign contribution suggest otherwise.”

Reed also has endorsed Republican Ashley Swearengin over Democrat Betty Yee in the race for the state controller’s office, Kembaiyan noted, and “has served as a faithful and longtime ally of San Jose Councilman turned evangelical right-wing activist Larry Pegram.”

“Reed’s endorsement of Khanna is just further reflection of his conservative values,” he said.

UPDATE @ 7:20 P.M.: “I think he did it because it’s what best for the future of Silicon Valley,” Khanna said of Reed’s endorsement Friday evening, despite Honda having represented the region for so long.

Taken together with endorsements from other Democrats like former state Controller Steve Westly and Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom, Reed’s backing says something about philosophical differences within the Democratic party, Khanna said.

Party leaders like President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are in Honda’s corner, but “Honda is a more orthodox, traditional Democrat” while Khanna said he has always made it clear he’ll reach out to independents and Republicans for a chance to work across the aisle in the GOP-controlled House. “It raises a question of what it means to be a Democrat from Silicon Valley.”

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Stockton stop for McCain includes quest for cash

Well, this explains why McCain is stopping at the AG Spanos Jet Center in Stockton on Thursday and it’s probably not just because he’s holding a public campaign rally, which I blogged about yesterday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Central Valley developers and bigwigs Faye and Alex Spanos are hosting a fund-raiser cocktail reception for McCain at the Spanos’ Stockton home Thursday night.

The governor is apparently hanging with McCain a good part of the day in the pair’s first appearance together since Schwarzenegger endorsed the Arizona senator’s presidential bid. My colleague Mary Anne Ostrom reports in the San Jose Mercury News that the duo will appear Thursday morning in Silicon Valley with tech leaders and attend a fundraiser at the home of retired eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

Want to see McCain up close? It’ll cost you. The cheap seats at the Spanos fund-raiser are $1,000 a person or for $2,300, you’ll get a McCain 2008 lapel pin. Raise $10,000 or more for the candidate and you’ll get photos with McCain, too.

Other dignitaries listed as co-chairs or members of the host committee for the Stockton reception include Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, developer Gerry Kamilos, former Congressman Richard Pombo and Dean Andal, a former state Board of Equalization member running for Congress. (Andal is running in Pombo’s old seat against Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton. Pombo lost his re-election in the anti-GOP wave of 2006.)

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McCain comes to Stockton on Thursday

Presumed GOP nominee and Sen. John McCain. R-Ariz., will hold a n open-to-the-public campaign rally in Stockton on Thursday, 2 p.m., at the AG Spanos Jet Center.

Republican Congressional candidate Dean Andal of Stockton, the presumed November GOP challenger to Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will introduce McCain.

Good for Stockton … although the Jet Center is not exactly downtown. It sounds more like a stop-over on his schedule. You may recall that former President Bill Clinton campaigned at the Jet Center for McNerney in 2006 as part of a whirlwind tour for Democrats in California.

Heck, I’m not complaining. Finally, a presidential candidate comes to California and holds a public event rather than a private, fund-raiser. Is this the beginning of the promised McCain machine to win California for a Republican for the first time since Ronald Reagan?

To RSVP, click here.

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Win a seat on McCain’s bus

Here’s an interesting prize for a lucky contributor to the campaign of presumed GOP presidential nominee John McCain: A seat on the “Straight Talk Express.”

It’s a bus, folks. And the prize comes with commemorative ticket, too. (Photo on the right appeared on Blogs 4 Brownback blog.)

I just hope it’s a good seat and not one of those at the back behind the boxes full of campaign brochures.

Here’s what McCain’s campaign sent out:

My Friends,

Next week, I will embark on a “Service to America” tour visiting numerous locations that have played a significant role in shaping who I am today; places where I have had the honor of serving our nation. This tour will take me through Mississippi, Virginia, Florida and my home state of Arizona. I look forward to visiting sites that have left an imprint on my life aboard my campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express.

My campaign has come up with an opportunity for a supporter to join me on the Straight Talk Express for a day of conversation and campaigning. As a token of my appreciation for your financial support, you will be entered to win this seat aboard the Straight Talk Express if you make a contribution before midnight on March 31st. I hope you’ll consider joining me by making a donation today. If you can give $50 or more, not only will you be entered to win a ride on the Straight Talk Express, but you’ll receive a commemorative Straight Talk Express ticket.

March 31, 2008 marks an important deadline for our campaign. We will file a report with the FEC outlining the amount of money we have raised during the past three months. I’m reaching out to you to ask for your support by following this link to make a donation of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 – anything you can contribute up to the legal limit of $2,300.

I have said many times before that this campaign will be the most expensive campaign in our history, and I have no doubt that both Senators Clinton and Obama will continue to report historic, record-breaking fundraising numbers. With your support today, my campaign will have the resources necessary to compete with either Senator Clinton or Obama in what will be a great contest come November.

I’m looking forward to traveling on the Straight Talk Express again next week, visiting directly with voters, hearing their concerns, offering my vision for the future and highlighting those among us who are serving our country and communities, dedicating themselves to causes greater than their own self interest. Your support makes this possible, and I am grateful for any assistance you are able to give.

Sincerely,


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Tauscher says: No more ‘proportional’ delegate math

The Democratic Party should switch to a “winner take all” delegate system in time for the 2012 presidential primary elections, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, told the Contra Costa Times’ editorial board this morning. (Tauscher also delivered her annual speech to the Contra Costa Council today. Pick up a Thursday copy of the Times to read my full story on her speech.)

The party’s current proportional method, where delegates in each state are awarded to the candidates based on election results, has produced a stalemate between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. With close results in many of the states where primaries have been held, neither candidate has collected the requisite 2,024 delegates to secure the nomination at the party’s convention in Denver in August.

CNN’s latest figures show Obama with 1,622 delegates to Clinton’s 1,485.

A few primaries remain on the schedule but neither candidate can mathematically win enough delegates.

That leaves the selection of the nominee in the hands of the so-called “super delegates,” the 796 people designated by the party to cast votes in the convention including Democratic members of Congress.

“Believe me, there’s nothing ‘super’ about being a super-delegate,” said Tauscher, who is one of California 71 super-delegates. “I think we need to move to a winner-take-all system before the next election. This decision should not be in my hands or the hands of the super-delegates.”

Tauscher hopes the selection will be settled before the convention but admits it could become a political cliff-hanger. The party also needs to figure out how how to seat delegates in Florida and Michigan, states that flouted party primary schedule rules and were told their results were void.

Super-delegates are free to vote for the candidate of his or her choice regardless of the election results back home. Tauscher supports Clinton, who won in California on Feb. 5. Under a winner-take-all process, she would have taken all of the state’s 441 delegates.

Instead, Clinton will seat 134 California delegates and Obama will receive 107 from among the 241 delegates who will be elected in April 13 caucuses.

Also, per the California Democratic Party web site: Clinton won the statewide vote with 54.4 percent of the vote and therefore she gets 44 At-Large Delegates and 26 Party Leader/Elected Official Delegates. Barack Obama won 45.6 percent of the vote and gets 37 At-Large Delegates and 22 Party Leader/Elected Official Delegates.

Tauscher is one of 71 California super-delegates, per the Democratic Party: 33 Democratic National Committee (DNC) Members, 31 Congressional Members, plus the vacant Tom Lantos seat which should be filled prior to the convention, and 1 former DNC Chair, Charles Manatt. Actually, there are 35 Democrats in Congress (33 House & the vacant Lantos seat, plus Senator Boxer and Senator Feinstein) but four of our Congressional Members are also on the DNC and therefore are counted as DNC Members.

A winner-take-all election process would more closely mirror that of the general election, where the candidate with the most votes in state win that’s state’s Electoral College votes, Tauscher said.

“Ultimately, that’s how we beat the Republican nominee is by winning the most Electoral College votes,” she said.

The party also needs to simplify a delegate math system that has produced a cottage industry for political math gurus equipped with high-tech computerized “white boards” who befuddle viewers with endless numerical scenarios on national television.

“Could we have possibly made this process any more difficult?” she laughed.

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McCain campaigns in California

Presumed GOP presidenial candidate John McCain, R-Ariz., will be campaigning and fund-raising in California this week.

McCain’s events web page lists eight fund-raisers in a state known as the ATM of presidential politics. He will also host a town hall meeting today in Chula Vista with military families. On Tuesday, he travels to Santa Ana for the Orange County Hispanic Small Business Roundtable.

His travels include one Bay Area stop: A fund-raiser in San Francisco at the Ritz Carlton on Stockton Street beginning at 6 p.m.

If you want to attend, get out your checkbook. It will cost you $2,300 per person, the maximum contribution allowed under federal campaign laws.

But it you pledge to raise $50,000, you and seven friends of your choice will attend the host committee reception and have four photo opportunities of two people per photo. Or if that sounds too dear, promise to raise $25,000 and you’ll get tickets for four to the reception and two photos. Click here for McCain’s reservation web site.