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CA15: Stark vows to help Corbett beat Swalwell

The 2014 campaign for the 15th Congressional District seat has started sounding a lot like the 2012 campaign, as former congressman Pete Stark vengefully vows to support a challenger to the fellow Democrat who unseated him, Rep. Eric Swalwell.

Pete Stark“Hopefully Eric will lose, and I am doing everything I can to see that Ellen Corbett wins that primary election,” Stark told CQ Roll Call on Wednesday. “I remember Eric, during the campaign against me, suggested that I was too old and inept to be of any value in the political process, so I am going to see if I can prove that to be wrong.”

State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, has trailed Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, thus far in fundraising and visibility, but Stark hopes to change that.

“I know that Eric used to say that I had $30 million,” Stark said. “I wish he was correct. But I have at least half that much at my disposal, and so I intend to broadcast far and wide his ethics problems and his inexperience and his failure to accomplish much in the Congress.”

Stark’s 2012 campaign committee contributed $2,000 to Corbett’s campaign in August.

Then again, Swalwell beat the 20-term incumbent last year in part because the district’s voters apparently were fed up with Stark’s behavior, including a series of unsupported accusations against Swalwell and others. And Stark’s vow to spend from his own pocket on Corbett’s campaign begs questions both of why he hasn’t done so thus far, and why he didn’t do so to keep himself in office last year.

Swalwell said Thursday that voters decided last year to replace a 40-year incumbent, and that he has kept his promise “to bring new energy and ideas to Congress. It’s time to move on and look forward and not go back to the tired politics of the past.”

“He’s trying to buy a seat in Congress for a friend that he couldn’t win for himself. But this seat isn’t for sale,” Swalwell added. “It’s one gift money can’t buy.”

Swalwell seems proud of the CQ Roll Call story, as he has been sharing it via social media.

“Last yr voters told Pete Stark, ‘bye, bye!’ But he took it as ‘buy, buy!’ & says he’ll spend $15M to help my opponent,” Swalwell tweeted Thursday morning.

He also posted the story on his Facebook page. “The voters have moved on and this seat is not for sale. I promise to keep bringing new energy and ideas to Congress,” he wrote there.

Corbett has not yet returned a call and an e-mail seeking comment.

UPDATE @ 2:35 P.M.: “I have a broad coalition of support from throughout the district, from people who realize I have a superior record of achieving for the district, and that includes Congressman Stark,” Corbett said Thursday afternoon. “It seems that Eric is picking a fight with the former Congressman, but I’m running to offer voters a choice and I will be standing on my own record of public service to this district. After all, that’s what democracy is all about, and I look forward to the campaign.”

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Rep. Mike Honda unveils 2014 campaign team

Rep. Mike Honda on Friday continued his mega-early campaign publicity blitz – clearly aimed at convincing an ambitious fellow Democrat from challenging him next year – by announcing his campaign staff.

Honda, D-San Jose, in recent weeks has rolled out endorsements from President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and many others in order to scare off, or at least undercut, a potential challenge from former Obama administration official Ro Khanna of Fremont. Honda issued a release Friday announcing his top-shelf campaign team.

honda.jpg“The people of the 17th District get my absolute best 24/7. Our community also deserves a campaign team that reflects my commitment to the families of Silicon Valley,” he said. “Together, we will listen and engage this community to create good jobs, improve our schools and grow Silicon Valley’s influence around the world.”

Honda has hired San Francisco-based Terris, Barnes and Walters for campaign management and media consulting. The firm in 2012 ran Rep. Mike Thompson’s re-election campaign, as well as state Sen. Jim Beall’s campaign in the South Bay and state Sen. Bill Monning’s campaign for his Central Coast seat. Honda team will be led by partner Barry Barnes.

For polling, Honda picked Washington, D.C.-based Lake Research Partners, which has run numbers for all four of Rep. Jerry McNerney’s campaigns as well as for Rep. Raul Ruiz’s victory over Mary Bono Mack last year. The firm also advises Pelosi; Honda’s team will be led by Berkeley-based partner David Mermin.

Oakland-based Full Court Press Communications will handle the Honda campaign’s communications and social media. The firm recently managed communications for Proposition 35, and designed social media campaigns for five local races around the state. The team will be led by founder Dan Cohen and Sarah Hersh, a former McNerney spokeswoman.

And former Davis City Councilman Lamar Heystek will serve as Honda’s field director, as he did last year.

Khanna, who served as a deputy assistant secretary in the Commerce Department from 2009 through 2011, sat out last year’s election after raising a record-breaking $1.2 million in the final quarter of 2011 but choosing not to challenge veteran-but-vulnerable Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont. Democrat Eric Swalwell took down Stark in November, and now there’s talk that Khanna might see Honda as a similar target in 2014.

Khanna’s campaign papers never specified the district or year in which he would run, and he has said he’s still mulling where and when to make his bid. “My decision on whether to run will not be based on Washington politics, it will be based on conversations in the local community,” he said early this month. “I want to determine where I can best help in aiding the community and improving our economy.”

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Pete Stark’s challenger launches ‘listening tour’

Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who announced Wednesday that he’s taking on longtime incumbent Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District, isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet.

The 30-year-old Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin City Council member is kicking off a “Downtown Listening Tour” of cities in the new district with a visit to Livermore tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 24. He’ll be at the fountain at First Street and South Livermore Avenue at noon, and then at the First Street Alehouse, 2106 First St., at 1 p.m.

His campaign says he’ll “talk with residents and small business owners about issues related to the economy, job creation, and hear their thoughts on how Congress can do better in Washington, DC.”

Stark, 79, first was elected to Congress in 1972; he’s the fifth most senior House member and dean of the California delegation. He announced his candidacy for a 21st term Aug. 2, saying he looks forward to continuing to serve old constituents while gaining new ones. He held town hall meetings last weekend in Union City and Hayward.

Polls show Californians have record low opinions of Congress, and the new district is vastly different from Stark’s existing 13th District. The new district boundaries lose much of Fremont and all of Alameda while adding Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Castro Valley. Also, June’s primary will be the first regular election using the “top two” system, in which candidates of all parties compete on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.

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The Challenger disaster, 25 years later

In memory of the seven American heroes of science and learning who lost their lives 73 seconds after takeoff, 25 years ago today…

sts-51-L mission patch

Commander Francis R. (Dick) Scobee
Pilot Michael J. Smith
Mission Specialist Judith A. Resnik
Mission Specialist Ronald E. McNair
Mission Specialist Ellison S. Onizuka
Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis
Educator Sharon Christa McAuliffe

Read all about them here, and take a moment today to remember their sacrifice.

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McNerney outraises Andal in third quarter

Third-quarter fundraising reports show Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, kept on out-raising and out-spending his Republican challenger, Dean Andal of Stockton, in California’s 11th Congressional District race.

McNerney’s report shows he raised $601,851.63 in the third quarter, for a total of $2,743,057.42 raised in this election cycle. He spent $957,901.95 in the third quarter, leaving him with $1,022,121.33 as of Sept. 30, the report says.

Andal’s report shows he raised $348,062 in the third quarter, for a total of $1,150,957.03 raised in this election cycle. He spent $195,081.44 in the third quarter, leaving him with $849,727.75 as of Sept. 30, the report says.

Andal issued a news release earlier today saying it feels great to know he has so many supporters, “and with the election only a couple of weeks out, we’re continuing to garner strong support – in both voices and fundraising. … (T)hanks to my supporters and their generous contributions, we have the resources to end this campaign on a very strong note.”

But truth is, he’s still at something of a competitive disadvantage. And as my colleague Lisa Vorderbrueggen noted in her blog earlier today, it looks as if the National Republican Congressional Committee well has run dry for Andal and other challengers as the national GOP turns its attention to protecting its endangered incumbents.

UPDATE @ 11:07 P.M.: Richard Temple, Andal’s consultant/spokesman, says I “missed the mark” with this post:

We enter the last month of the campaign with virtually the same cash on hand as the incumbent at the precise time when voters will be making up their minds. I doubt that McNerney is pleased knowing we have significant resources and issues to use against him. And if the DCCC comes in with a lot of money at the end, it will be water overflowing a bucket. They can outspend us 2-1 and it won’t make a difference as long as we have enough resources to get an effective message out — and we do. The shorter the time frame, the less that volume of spending makes a difference in campaign — after a certain amount voters tune campaigns out. McNerney squandered his early financial advantage and we enter the last month within striking distance, with enough resources to get our message out, stronger issues in our favor, and a good district. I’ll take our chances. Watch this race closely and see what happens.

UPDATE @ 2:24 P.M. THURSDAY: From McNerney campaign spokesman Andy Stone: “Richard Temple may be feeling lucky, but he probably shouldn’t hit the tables at Cache Creek just yet.”