Pleasanton and the rest of the southern Tri-Valley are deciding for the sixth time whether Eric Swalwell should be their district representative in Washington, D.C. -- and for the second general election in a row, the opposing choice is the same challenger, Alison Hayden.
Swalwell (D-Livermore) defeated Hayden for reelection in 2020 by a margin of 70.9% to 29.1%.
Hayden, a special education teacher from Hayward, returned among five other challengers against Swalwell in the June 2022 primary election for the newly redrawn District 14 and finished in second place with 10.3% of the vote (with Swalwell in first at 63.6%) to book a spot on the Nov. 8 congressional runoff. She is listed on the ballot as a Republican, but she told the Weekly on Tuesday she has rejected the Republican Party's endorsement.
Swalwell, a former Dublin City Council member and Alameda County prosecutor, continues to be one of the more recognizable members of the U.S. House of Representatives, helped by his visible presence on social media and national news interviews, especially as a critic of Congressional Republicans.
He told the Weekly he is "dedicated to delivering tangible results" for the residents of his district.
Swalwell cited federal Community Project Funding he helped secure for nine projects in his district, which included $2 million for design of an Iron Horse Regional Trail overcrossing in San Ramon, $1 million for Veterans Park in Livermore and $450,000 for the Axis Bridge mental health urgent care services pilot program.
He also is clearly keeping an eye on House and Senate results across the United States to achieve his goals locally and districtwide.
"House Democrats have been laser focused on bringing down costs -- at the pharmacy, grocery, and gas pump. But we can only do that if Democrats are reelected with strong majorities in both chambers," Swalwell said.
"Next Congress, I'll push for passage of the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act in both chambers," Swalwell said.
"In addition, I would ensure that all women have the ability to make their own decisions about their bodies and their families," he added. "As extreme Republicans are passing abortion bans throughout the country, Congress would step in to protect this constitutional right to privacy and ensure that all women have access to choice and freedom."
"And protecting our democracy is of the utmost importance. The Republican Party is trying to undermine free elections and inventing a basis to overturn the results of elections they don't agree with," Swalwell said. "With a greater majority in Congress, Democrats could pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, which would bolster our democracy by protecting voting rights, ending partisan gerrymandering, fixing campaign finance and safeguarding the electoral process."
For her part, Hayden also casts this election through the lens of big-picture national issues.
"I will immediately address the safety concerns ... and the financial instabilities and risks that threaten families economically as well as bring new vision and opportunities," Hayden told the Weekly.
"America/n culture and society is under siege; we are at a crucial moment of our evolution," she continued. "We must unite to save marriages, families and communities in order to save the country. It is not the time to vote for party politics. We must build bridges on our commonalities and restore the bedrock of society, the family."
Hayden also criticized Swalwell as too focused on "his own political ambitions" over the needs of his district residents, especially on national issues such as the Russian war in Ukraine, inflation, immigration and China.
"This election is about sovereignty, law and order, financial stability and the American way of life. We must vote for the candidate who represents our values, not political party," Hayden said.
Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin are now part of the 14th Congressional District after redistricting in the wake of the 2020 census. The borders remain largely the same as Swalwell's prior District 15, including communities to the west such as Hayward, Castro Valley and Union City -- although the district no longer includes parts of the San Ramon Valley.