Both 11th District Congressional candidates in the Nov. 2 General Election are now in Washington, D.C.
Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) returned to his congressional seat for the opening session yesterday of one week of deliberation before the Thanksgiving recess. He plans to return again after Thanksgiving for the final session of the 111th Congress.
Also in Washington is McNerney's Republican challenger in the still;-undecided 11th District race, David Harmer. Harmer attended the orientation for new members of Congress.
"Since we don't yet know whether I'll become a new member of Congress, I'm participating with a unique blend of apprehension and hope," Harmer said in an email to supporters.
Just how "undecided" is this race?
Secretary of State Debra Bower reported yesterday that the latest vote count in the 11th Congressional District race continues to show Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) with less than a 1 percent over his Republican challenger David Harmer and with thousands of ballots yet to be counted.
At 6:40 p.m. Monday, Secretary of State Debra Bowen continued to call it a "close race."
The vote at that time, she reported, shows McNerney and Harmer both with slight numerical gains but with no change in the percent of total votes received. According to Bowen, McNerney as of late Monday has received 111,129 votes, or still at 47.9%, Harmer has 109,351 votes, or 47.0%, and American Independent party candidate David Christensen as of late yesterday had received 11,871 votes, or 5.1%.
Harmer's wife, Elayne, the mother of four, said the contest is much like a mother-to-be reaching her due date and the doctor walks in and says she has to wait another three or four weeks for the baby to be born.
"And then the doc throws in this caveat: 'And you might not keep the baby,'" Elayne Harmer added.
Even so, McNerney left for Washington convinced that he has won re-election to a third term in Congress.
"The trend is very clear," McNerney said. "The lead is insurmountable."
Harmer, however, disagreed, saying it would be premature to concede while the votes are still being counted.
"Last night, at a dinner for the Republican freshmen in the Capitol's magnificent Statuary Hall, I sat just a few feet from the site of John Quincy Adams's old desk as Republican leader and soon-to-be Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke of our charge from the American people," Harmer said.
"His watchword was humility; his counsel, servant leadership," Harmer added. "He is determined to restore representation as the founders intended, a House that does the people's business through the cumbersome, unpredictable, messy, but democratic means of legislation. He envisions a House where Representatives are actual legislators, not merely voters on proposals negotiated behind closed doors, but daily participants in the process of investigation, persuasion, negotiation, and debate.
"For California to fail to contribute to this historic change in leadership, mission, and tone would be tragic, but it's a very real risk. The wave that swept the rest of the nation, resulting in well over 60 net new Republican seats, seems to have washed up against the eastern flank of the Sierras without crossing their crest. So far Republicans haven't picked up a single one of California's 53 seats in the U.S. House. But the 11th District is still in play.
"To ensure an accurate count of the remaining ballots, to prepare for a possible recount, and to do our best to complete the campaign successfully, we need to raise much more money. If you haven't already done so, please consider contributing to our recount fund. Contributions of any amount are welcome, appreciated, and needed."