Former GOP Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy has endorsed Clements winegrape grower Brad Goehring in the four-way 11th Congressional District Republican primary.
Pombo’s endorsement comes as no big surprise. They share similar conservative views on environmental issues and both come from agricultural backgrounds. Pombo helped Goehring fight the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a dispute over a wetlands permit. And Pombo’s campaign manager, Carl Fogliani, ran Pombo’s unsuccessful 2006 campaign.
But the timing is curious.
Why so late in the election? I suspect there was considerable debate over whether Pombo’s endorsement will help or hurt Goehring. Pombo’s high-profile loss four years ago, coupled with the significant damage environmental groups inflicted on his candidacy, splintered his GOP support.
History is one thing. The present has its own issues.
Goehring is running as the candidate with the deepest roots in the 11th District, a fourth-generation farmer whose family immigrated from Germany in the early 1900s. He views two of his opponents as opportunistic carpet-baggers who just moved into the district (Tony Amador) or don’t even live in the district (David Harmer.)
But like Harmer, Pombo is also running for Congress in a district in which he does not live. Pombo is locked in a a four-man congressional contest to succeed retiring Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, in the 19th district.
We’ll see soon enough if roots and residency matter with voters.