The scramble begins with top politicians eyeing Ellen Tauscher’s House seat

With U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher agreeing to leave her House seat to take a top job at the State Department, East Bay political movers and shakers are scrambling to decide whether they want to seize this rare opportunity to fill her potentially vacant Washington D.C. office.

Tauscher, a Democrat from Alamo and a seven-term member of Congress, must undergo Senate confirmation before she can become President Obama’s undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. That confirmation process could take weeks or months.

In the meantime, the local political scene is buzzing with names of those considering a run in the special general election that must be held to replace her. Assuming Tauscher gets the Senate nod, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has 14 days from the date she vacates her seat to set a date for the special election. That election must be held at least 112 days after the governor’s proclamation, which, would put it to late to coincide with the May 19 statewide special election. Here are the possible contenders, according to the and the San Francisco ChronicleContra Costa Times.

Democrat

Joan Buchanan, Alamo. She was just elected to the Assembly in November, but says she’s “very interested.”
Mark DeSaulnier, Concord, state senator and former state assemblyman. Said to be “very interested.” Joe Canciamilla, Pittsburg, former state assemblyman. He’s exploring a 2010 run for state attorney general, but will not rule out running for Tauscher’s seat.

Update: Early in the day, Tom Tolarkson, Antioch, state assemblyman and former state senator, was mentioned as a contender. But today, the candiate for state Superintendent of Public Instruction, said he would endorse the candidacy of his political colleague and friend Mark DeSaulnier. Thanks to a Anon 6:26 for pointing me to the latest Contra Costa Times story on Torlakson’s endorsement.

Republican
Tom Del Becarro, Lafayette, vice chairman of the California Republic Party. Says he’s looking into it, and has heard of three other, whom he can’t name, who might be interested.
Nicholas Gerber, a Moraga businessman who challenged Tauscher last year and received 31.1 percent of the vote. Says he “absolutely” ready to run again.
Brent Jones, Danville, a former San Francisco 49er tight end. Washington insiders said to be talking up his candidacy.
H. Abram Wilson, moderate mayor of San Ramon who lost November’s race for state Assembly.

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