The challengers, Rudy Peters of Livermore and Brendan St. John of Pleasanton, have positioned themselves differently with the goal of finishing second and making the November ballot against Swalwell. The incumbent is running for a fourth term after defeating the out-of-touch, ultra-liberal Pete Stark in 2012.
The district is considered safe for Democrats based upon registration, so it will be an uphill battle for whoever finishes second and advances to November.
In 2016, both St. John and Peters were Republicans. Peters still is, while St. John is running as an independent with the promise of not to caucus with either Democrats or Republicans should he be elected. Both have put their professional lives on hold to campaign.
St. John, who has been employed by both successful and unsuccessful start-up companies, said he has money put aside from the successes and his wife works as a nurse. That has allowed him to run a grassroots campaign for the last year.
Peters established his own veteran-owned company five years ago after working for years in the defense intelligence industry and serving in the armed forces.
When it comes to positions on issues, they share some and both are critical of Swalwell’s embrace of the hard-left politics House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Peters lines up with pretty much doctrinaire conservative Republican positions, while St. John is positioning himself with the hope of attracting the independent and some cross-over Democrat voters as well as some Republicans.
In an interview, he said he views registration as about 40 percent Democrat, and 30 percent independent and 30 percent Republican. Professionally, he worked in marketing, so he’s dug deeply into data and points out how badly pollsters missed the Donald Trump phenomenon because they did not talk to people about how they were feeling and how they felt about the federal government.
St. John believes that most of the voters in the 15th district are moderates and want polarized Washington D.C. to work for the people. One area he believes there should be immediate compromise is border security and a solution for the “Dreamers,” people who were brought here illegally as children by their parents.
St. John said there needs to be a long-term plan, with public support, to deal with the crushing national debt. Peters points out that Social Security has been running at a deficit since 2010 and the number of workers paying in versus recipients continue to shrink and says that there needs to be a new budget process in Washington D.C. to halt the out-of-control spending.
Both emphasize that they will represent the district and the country. St. John criticized Swalwell for spending more time building his personal profile on cable television as a Democrat spokesman instead of focusing on the needs of the district.
Neither man has raised much money and are self-funding their campaigns with the hopes of gaining contributions for the general election.
So, stay tuned to see which non-politician advances to meet the politician in November.