Livermore, other 10th District voters go to polls tomorrow in special Congressional race

Democrat's Garamendi leads GOP's Harmer in hotly-contested bid for Ellen Tauscher's vacant seat

If current pre-election surveys are correct, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, 64 and a Democrat, will defeat his Republican challenger and businessman David Harmer in the 10th Congressional District special election tomorrow.

The two are vying to fill the seat left vacant in June by Ellen Tauscher, who became the State Department's undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs.

A recent public poll shows Harmer trailing Garamendi by double digits in a district where Democrats make up 47 percent of registered voters compared with 29 percent that are registered as Republicans. The 10th Congressional District includes much of Contra Costa County, as well as parts of Alameda, Solano and Sacramento counties.

Garamendi topped a crowded field in a special primary election in September, but because no one got more than 50 percent of the vote, the general election was scheduled for Nov. 3.

Garamendi has been everything from assemblyman to insurance commissioner to former President Bill Clinton's deputy interior secretary during his 35 years in public service. He is also one of California's better-known politicians with higher-than-usual recognition for a lieutenant governor, especially one who serves with globally-known Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Harmer, on the other hand, is best known for his father, who was a state senator and also lieutenant governor. Nevertheless, Harmer easily defeated the other five Republican opponents, earning himself a spot on the ballot.

Since the start of the election season, Harmer has raised about $800,000 to Garamendi's $1 million and released commercials criticizing his Democratic opponent's support for the public option in a health care overhaul.

Jeremy Cloward of the Green Party, Mary C. McIlroy of the Peace and Freedom Party, and Jerry Denham of the American Independent Party combined to only get about 1 percent of the overall vote, but will each also be on the November ballot after running unopposed in the primary.

Garamendi said that his campaign is going "very, very well," and hopes that the turnout tomorrow will be favorable to him.

"Our task is to round up the Democrats," Garamendi said.

He said his campaign's polls have shown that voters "want someone that will help Obama and his agenda, and my opponent is a no vote on everything the president is attempting to do."

A Garamendi win tomorrow could have national significance as an exception to the tough elections other Democrats are facing in New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

Harmer said that his main issue with the president and Congress is what he thinks is a lack of fiscal discipline.

"When the President is promoting policies of limited government, a sound dollar, and economic opportunity, he'll have my wholehearted support," Harmer said.

"You cannot spend money you don't have," he said. "What Congress is doing now is irresponsible. Whatever our disagreement is on other issues, at least we can agree that we can't leave this debt for our kids, and that's the theme of our campaign."

The combination of Garamendi's name recognition and the high number of Democrats in the district seem to give Garamendi the advantage in the race, according to Bill Whalen, a research fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

"There are more Democrats than Republicans in the district, ergo he should win," Whalen said.

Harmer's prospects of winning would depend on "a sentiment out there, which you don't see as much in California as in other states, that people might be in a mood to punish politicians, and Garamendi would fit that mold as a career politician," Whalen said.

If Garamendi is to win the seat, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will have to pick a new lieutenant governor, a decision Whalen said will likely be surrounded by speculation.

A possible candidate is Tom Campbell, a Republican candidate for governor in 2010 who is a former South Bay congressman and served as state finance director for Schwarzenegger.

Whalen said that pick "would be a tremendous boost to Campbell's candidacy, if he had a 'Lieutenant Governor' in front of his name, but Arnold might not want to play favorites in the race."

If the governor were to pick a Democrat, Robert Hertzberg, a Los Angeles businessman who is a former state Assembly Speaker and is an advisor to Schwarzenegger, is another possibility, Whalen said.

"He and Schwarzenegger talk all the time, so I can easily see (the governor) picking him," he said.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear declined to comment on possible replacements in the event of a Garamendi victory.

"That's not something the governor is focused on at all," McLear said.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. tomorrow in the 10th District, which includes Livermore, closing at 8 p.m.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


Posted by Emily, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2009 at 8:51 am

It would be really nice to have some balance from California to offset the historical left agenda of our current representatives. Garamendi is simply going to be another yes-man to Pelosi and Obama. We really don't need another Jerry McNerney in Congress. Go Harmer!

Posted by James, a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:02 am

You do not know Garamendi--he can and is his own man at times. The problem with elected reps are they are forced to run for election all the time. Nobody wants to pay taxes but want "all" the services that they feel "entitled" to. This whole thing boils down to money and which party spends the most---not about what is the "right" thing to do but the "political" thing, ie. "money to stay in office"thing to do. Happens from bottom to top elective office levels. Washington feared this and was not for political party systems. His fears have been realized.

Posted by Kafka-esque, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

..."Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:10 am

jimf01 is a registered user.

Lt. Gov. Garamendi has presided over one part or another of California's state government for years and years, he is a poster boy for the failure of government to properly handle taxpayer dollars. We need someone who will be responsible with our money. To quote Harmer: "You cannot spend money you don't have," he said. "What Congress is doing now is irresponsible. Whatever our disagreement is on other issues, at least we can agree that we can't leave this debt for our kids.

Residents of the 10th district are looking for someone to represent them. Harmer lives and works in the 10th district, and he has kids who go to school in the Tri-Valley. He knows what is going on here. Garamendi lives outside Walnut Grove, across the Sacramento River from CA district 10. Web Link

Posted by Gondo Johnson, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:21 am


Of course we know Garamendi - he is the quintessential political hack. He dropped his bid for the Governor's race because he knew he wouldn't get elected. I think it's disgusting that he is allowed to run for this seat in the House. He changed his primary residence to his vacation home, only one bedroom of which is in the district, so he could run for Tauscher's seat. That alone shows he has no scruples and is a political hack.

Then there is the issue is that he is a consummate left-wing loon and will be kissing Pelosi's rear end and getting tutored in loon catechism by George Miller in much the same way as McNerney.

The entire Bay Area delegation in the House is a pathetic joke. We need to get out the vote for Harmer so we don't sent a carpetbagging left-wing loon to Congress.

Posted by Two Pooches, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:28 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by John Garamendi, a resident of another community
on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:34 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by T.H., a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:43 am

I watched most of the debate and liked what Garamendi was saying. It might be just politician talk, and you might disagree with it, but it was straight forward. Harmer sounded like GWBush too much to me. I always hate, when talking about war and the lives of Americans, that you make a decision and stick with it as Harmer said regarding the war. It says to me that no matter what new information or situations arise ignore them. I want someone to evaluate situations with the most current and up-to-date information as possible and work from today forward. No matter what side of an issue you are on don't you want it to be supported and relevant to today not years ago?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 29, 2009 at 10:10 am

I am so over JG and I don't know much about Harmer. Not sure who to vote for yet. Harmer is a robot, he doesn't understand war and what it does. Too many people dying in this war.

Posted by Lexie, a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 29, 2009 at 10:57 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by PAD, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 29, 2009 at 11:21 am

I have already voted for Harmer and the rest of my family will be doing so on election day. The Bay Area's reflex response to vote for anyone with a (D) after their name has gotten this whole area and state into trouble... one party rule, by either side, leads the worst traits of politicians to come out. Listen to what Harmer says; it makes sense, it is mainstream thinking and not just bowing before the alter of political party officials. Garimendi is an experience *politician* but does he plan to *govern*? His politics and positions are more representative of Berkeley and San Francisco, not the "far" East Bay and certainly not anything I hear from my neighbors. Maybe, if Garimendi lived among the people he seeks to represent then he would know this.

Posted by !, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2009 at 11:33 am

Go Get 'em Harmer!

Harmer is a great guy, accomplished, strong conservative who will actually fight for the individual (vs. the collective), has worked with the Heritage Foundation and more. Oh...sorry democrats...he has NOT made career out of public office and has actually "worked" for a living. He also lives in the district he represents...what a concept.

Posted by Hal, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 29, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Garamendi will win easily. Sorry bitter conservatives, you'll have to eat crow once again. Now go back to whining and watching Glenn Beck.

Posted by Arthur, a resident of Mission Park
on Oct 29, 2009 at 2:43 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by bob123, a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2009 at 8:17 am

For those of us in Alamo Harmer is the choice. For all too long this state has been the playground for JG and what we have now is no proud advertisement for what he would do in Washington where he would continue to be a "yes man" for the likes of the Speaker and anyone with enough power to make his life easier. JG sold out as the insurance commisioner, sold out when he "wedged" his way into qualifying to run in this district and will continue to sell out whenever he sees it as benificial to himself. I will bet you coffee and a doughnut that he probbaly does not even know what towns and cities are in "his " district.

A vote for Harmer -although he is young and inexperienced -will help bring balance to the area and allow both sides of the issue to be addressed.

Posted by T.H., a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 30, 2009 at 8:36 am

Wow, everyone in Alamo is voting for Harmer, amazing.

Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2009 at 10:09 am

jimf01 is a registered user.

LOL @ Arthur & Hal, faking a different ID to simulate support for Gerrymanderi.

Posted by dublinmike, a resident of Dublin
on Oct 31, 2009 at 2:06 pm

jimf01, the lieutenant governor never had,if any, real power. So casting Lt. Gov. Garamendi as "a poster boy for failure of government to properly handle taxpayer dollars" is disingenuous, at best.

Regarding his residing outside the district, I am not happy about this. But since conservatives and Republicans did not have a problem with Tom McClintock (who lived in SoCalif...couldn't even vote for himself) running for US House of Reps in California's 4th cong. district, then I guess I can overlook where Lt. Gov. Garamendi resides...

Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm

two words Mike BUH LONEY.
'casting Lt. Gov. Garamendi as "a poster boy for failure of government to properly handle taxpayer dollars" is disingenuous, at best'
Then how about 14 years in the CA legislature, how about being repaid by the state Dem political machine with the ins commish and Lt gov candidacy? How about appointments to Clinton administration and UC positions and boards?
You don't get the backing of the CA Dems unless you play by their rules. That means Garamendi is out raising funds & supporting corrupt politicians statewide.
Your equivocating re: McClintock is typical two wrongs make it right thinking that perpetuate politics as usual that have driven the state of CA into the toilet. We need to root out corruption.

Posted by Polprav, a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on Nov 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Hello from Russia!
Can I quote a post "No teme" in your blog with the link to you?

Posted by leebert, a resident of Ironwood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 8:24 am

The question is do the people of the 10th District want the same
old tailed 'tax and spend' politics of the Democrat party? Perhaps they do but beware the massive 1.4 trillion deficit from the Dem
Obama adminstration is costing the taxpayers $1 million in new
borrowed money every 20 seconds.

We are 3 years from total fiscal chaos. Do the people from the 10th
district want to bankrupt the country?

Posted by T.H., a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 4, 2009 at 8:03 am

Republicans have a new issue to complain about, congrats on another loss. You seem to enjoy complaining more than winning and actually being accountable.

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