And well he should. Of the 53 congressional districts in California, 33 are considered safe for incumbent Democrats, 19 safe for incumbent Republicans and only one—the 11th—is being eyed as possibly vulnerable.
McNerney, who is seeking reelection to a third term in Congress, has no opposition in his bid for the Democratic Party nomination in the June 8 state primary. Four Republicans, on the other hand, sensing a chance to capture the 11th District seat, are vying for their party's nomination. They include David Harmer, an attorney in San Ramon; Elizabeth Emken, a lobbyist/advocate for Autism Speaks and a resident of Danville; Tony Amador, a U.S. Marshal from Lodi, and Brad Goehring, a wine grape grower from Clements.
The district includes Pleasanton and other parts of Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties, as well as rural San Joaquin County.
Last week, more than 100 civic and business leaders filled the outdoor garden patio at Barone's Restaurant to hear Harmer, enthusiastically greeting, contributing and applauding the candidate as he railed against McNerney and what he called irresponsible spending programs the congressman has supported in Washington.
If elected, he told the crowd, he would work to un-do those programs, including President Obama's health care plan, cap and trade and stimulus funds which he said is "a "shell game, taking borrowed money the government doesn't have to spend on things we don't need." A wide majority of those in the 11th Congressional District opposed those programs, Harmer claimed, but McNerney voted for them anyhow. "McNerney needs to go!" (APPLAUSE). He also praised the Tea Party movement and, at the rally, recognized the organizer of the April 15 Pleasanton event, Bridget Melson (MORE APPLAUSE). Then, building on that group's Tax Day message, Harmer said the federal government is spending too much and his priority, if elected, would be to apply the brakes. He vowed to work with others of like mind in Washington to get rid of $1.4 trillion of the $12.8 trillion of national debt for starters, just by rescinding most of the spending that's been added to the budget in the last two years (MORE APPLAUSE).
He cited a sign on Santa Rita Road as an example of excessive federal spending. It reads that the roadway improvements are being made courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the so-called stimulus fund. If he was a graffiti artist, Harmer said he would stopped and spray painted the words "inter-generational theft," since the work being done here will have to be paid by future generations of taxpayers all across the country.
Harmer is campaigning as a lifelong Ronald Reagan Republican. His father, John Harmer, who introduced him at Barrone's, served as California's lieutenant governor under Reagan. Early in his career, David Harmer represented the Pacific Legal Foundation, where he defended property rights and other issues in state and federal courts. He also was a Resident Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and his book on education reform was published by the Cato Institute, a market-oriented public policy organization.
Harmer frequently refers to Reagan as is mentor and to the former president's obsession with the Constitution, its authors and the country's founders. These are the people and principles that "have made America a force for good not only domestically but throughout the world for the 222 years of our existence as a nation," Harmer said. The country's financial concerns today are not unlike those in Greece, which Harmer likened to a canoe that is just 20 yards from the tip of Niagara Falls. He sees the U.S., with its debt and spending policies just 100 feet upstream wants a chance to serve in Congress to help paddle our canoe to shore while the country still can.
Among Harmer's priorities are spending cuts and curbs, moving the government from a cash base accounting system to an accrual base much like business, curbing any funding by the House of Representatives, which controls the purse-strings, on the Obamacare health plan, removing state restrictions on interstate marketing and purchase of health insurance and beefing up the borders to stop illegal immigration. In fact, if he was an Arizona state legislator, he would have approved that state's new immigration law and encouraged the governor to sign it. (THIS TIME TO THE LOUDEST APPLAUSE).