The McNerney family voted along with thousands of others in Pleasanton and millions across the country yesterday in mid-term elections that saw major shifts in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
In the end, with the results of McNerney's bid for re-election against Republican David Harmer separated by only 121 votes, those five votes that presumably went his way may be needed.
Final results of yesterday's election in the 11th Congressional District give McNerney (D-Pleasanton) 82,124 votes against Harmer's 82,003 voters. Both have 47.5% of the total votes cast in the 11th District race.
David Christensen, an Independent candidate, received 8,809 votes, or 5%.
With Harmer taking an early lead after absentee votes were tallied and first announced, McNerney made a brief appearance at his election night rally at the Sheraton Four Points hotel in Pleasanton. He then left, saying he would return once the results were final.
Supporters took advantage of the free food and refreshments, milling around until 10:30 p.m. before starting to drift away. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who had come to congratulate McNerney, left then, too.
The continuing uncertainty over who will represent the 11th District baffled many of McNerney's supporters who watched results on a television monitor showing a Democratic sweep in other California races. Democrat John Garamendi easily won re-election the nearby 10th Congressional District with 58% of the vote against 38.5% for his Republican challenger Gary Clift.
In the 13th Congressional District, which includes the far northwest side of Pleasanton, veteran Congressman Pete Stark (D-Fremont) received 86,660 votes, or 72% of the total votes cast in that election against Republican challenger Forest Baker's 34,469 votes, or 28%.
To strengthen his odds, McNerney brought along his wife Mary and their children Greg, Michael and Windy to the Donlon Elementary School polling place in Pleasanton, near the McNerney Val Vista neighborhood home and where the children were raised.
The Donlon School precinct, similar to others throughout Pleasanton, was crowded from the time polls opened at 7 a.m. Although as many as 50 percent of Pleasanton's 40,452 registered voters who cast ballots in yesterday's election voted by mail, thousands more held off until yesterday to make sure they had heard all of the arguments by and against candidates in the various local, state and national races.
Precinct workers also said a large number of vote-by-mail ballots were brought in because those voters had not mailed them in time to reach the County Registrar's office by the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline.
Voters in some polling places such as the one at Vineyard Villa Mobile Home Park off Vineyard Avenue, where three city precincts were crowded into a recreation room, faced long lines to reach the registration tables. Parking spaces also were limited with motorists parking illegally next to residents' homes in order to cast their ballots before driving to work.