Red hot race to fill Tauscher’s seat: Which of 14 candidates do you like?

Sure, the more than dozen candidates vying to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher in the 10th congressional district have just filed to run. And maybe, like me, you’ve just started to sort through their resumes and qualifications.

But if you already know who you want to represent you in Washington, or have an inkling of who you might vote for, share your thoughts, arguments, endorsements.

Here’s my handy-dandy list of candidates—provided with the help of handy-dandy candidate lists from the Contra Costa Times Lisa Vorderbrueggen and the San Francisco Chronicle. Speaking of Lisa Vorderbrueggen, her blog can keep you up to date on some of the behind-the-scenes drama (like an Alamo nonpartisan’s suit over the signature deadline for filing) of what appears to be a very exciting, dramatic race.

Just look at some of the high-profile politicians going for this seat. The New York Times made note of this contentious race.

There are some “usual suspects” in East Bay politics, such as State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. Then there is Lt. Governor John Garimendi.

There are also some new, scrappy “outsider” candidates, such as Adriel Hampton. He’s a former journalist from Dublin who kicked off his campaign at the historic Walnut Creek home of Julia and Elizabeth Maxwell next door to Civic Park. The city had wanted to tear their home down to make more room for its new library and parking garage, and Hampton was at the forefront of helping to save it.

Then there’s Anthony Woods, known nationally now as the “gay Iraq war veteran,” whom I wrote about in a previous blog.

Sorry, GOPers, but the most compelling candidates so far come from the left side of the aisle. But who knows? Republicans Chris Bunch, Gary Clift, David Harmer, Mark Loos, David Peterson, John Toth, or the Green Party’s Jeremy Cloward could rise up in the public consciousness.

Basics of the race: The special primary is September 1, and voters can select a candidate from any party. If one candidate wins a simple majority, that candidate wins the election. If not, the top vote-getter from each political party will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, which will also be open to all voters. Whoever receives the most votes on that ballot wins. Visit the California Secretary of State’s office for more information on the race.

Joan Buchanan, assemblywoman and educator, 56, Alamo
Also: First in her family to graduate from college, former executive at Delta Dental, long-time member of the San Ramon Valley school district, mother of five, winner of California Teachers Association State Gold Award.
Quote: “My top priority is getting people back to work. Sustaining economic growth means making education a national priority. I have the financial know-how and educational experience to lead on these issues.”

Mark DeSaulnier, state senator, 57,
Also: Single father of two sons, completed 21 marathons, long-time restaurant owner, previously served as Concord mayor, Contra Costa supervisor, and state Assemblyman.
Quote: “Throughout my life and career, I’ve fought for the issues that matter most: affordable health care, the welfare of children and families, smart growth that improves both our transportation infrastructure and our quality of living and the preservation of our precious natural resources.”

John Garamendi, lieutenant governor and rancher, 64, Walnut Grove

Also: UC regent; former California insurance commissioner, U.S. Interior Department deputy secretary, state assembly member, state senator, Peace Corps volunteer who served in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Congo wars; father of six, grandfather of nine.
Quote: “I’m a passionate advocate for education … I wrote the green legislation that led to solar and wind energy development here in California, and as a longtime rancher in the Delta, I know the challenges we face over water issues and climate change. Right now, many Californians are hurting–from job losses, foreclosures, and the high cost of health care. I see a bright future for our state, at the center of a new

industrial revolution that brings thousands of new jobs and economic growth.”

Adriel Hampton, former journalist, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office investigator, 31, Dublin
Also: First candidate to announce his campaign via Twitter; member of the Chickasaw Nation, first of his family to earn a B.A. degree; supports legalization marijuana; lives in affordable housing next to the Dublin BART station, father of two young sons.
Quote: “We can have a healthy government built on the common dreams we share. What it will take is breaking from the mold of political musical chairs, where the same handful of candidates are considered the front runners for whatever open office comes up. I am running because I have a vision for our America. My vision goes beyond partisan battles and to the heart of “government by the people, of the people, for the people.” I am just a guy, but I am a guy with a dream. … We must invest ourselves in an America where hard work and merit still lead to prosperity, where the next generations are as lucky as we are, in an America where anything is possible.”
Anthony Woods, economic policy analyst, 29, Fairfield
Also: Native of Travis Air Force base, son of single mother, grew up without health insurance, graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, served two tours in Iraq, won Bronze star, graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, honorably discharged after he defied military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy.”
Quote: “I was born and raised right here in our community. I’ve lived the fight for a quality education and an economy that works for all Americans. I lived the uncertainty of being without health care for most of my life. I spent nine years in the military, and two of them on the battle fields of Iraq. I know the challenges our veterans are facing when

they come home first hand. And I have lived the fight to end discrimination from the world’s greatest democracy once and for all. And that is both the perspective, and the spirit of urgency and possibility that I will bring to the floor of the United States congress.”
Chris Bunch, small-business owner, 31, Fairfield
Also: Born in Texas, adopted at birth, son of a single father; US Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq; father of four, “unapologetic” conservative, NRA member, against same-sex marriage.
Quote: “As a nation, we are now facing challenges that are unprecedented in our history. Our problems are monstrous in both size and complexity. Nevertheless, the most complex of problems often require us to simply refocus on the fundamentals, on our first principals, for us to look to our magnificent Constitution and the Founder’s intent, and to simply rely on some good old fashion common sense.”

Gary Clift, retired law-enforcement official, 52, rural Solano County
Also: As dependent of U.S. foreign service officer, grew up in third-world countries; UC Davis graduate; owns small organic farm.
Quote:The financial future of our country is at risk if the Federal Government follows California’s lead. Federal government has grown too big and expenditures greatly exceed tax revenues. This cannot continue. We need to reduce federal government by cutting the waste and mis-management.”

David Harmer, attorney, 47, San Ramon
Also: Brigham Young University law school graduate, one-time counsel to a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, appointed by Senator Orrin Hatch, father of four, kids’ soccer coach.
Quote: “I’m aghast at the pace with which Congress is mortgaging our future. I stand for a desperately needed return to prudence and thrift in public expenditures.”

Mark Loos, small business owner, 47, Livermore
Also: Operated a care home for special needs children in early 90s, father of four, grandfather of one
Quote: “The main goal of this campaign is to bring to you, the voter, the one that is paying the tab, 100 percent control over the process. Not only do we need a transparent government, but we need the voters to be the owners of the system. I will be your direct voice into the closed-door meetings. I will be your outspoken representative on the issues.”

David Peterson, founder, 46, Walnut Creek
Quote: “I am very good at improving processes and reducing costs. After 15 years of building accountability systems for Fortune 500 companies, the federal government is the last great frontier of excess.”

John Toth, physician, 50, Pleasant Hill
Quote: “I have served as president of two medical associations and am the only Republican to serve in elective office. I will work to preserve our liberties.”

Green Party: Jeremy Cloward, adjunct political science professor, 38, of Pleasant Hill
Also: Reared in Pleasant Hill, graduate of College Park High School, taught at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord, member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, the NAACP, the United Farm Workers of America, and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Quote:I am running because the issues that are important to all of us, healthcare, education, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, need to be addressed by people and a party that are actually willing to address them.”

American Independent: Jerome Denham, insurance agent, 73, Walnut Creek

Peace and Freedom: Mary McIlroy, order-taker at courier firm, 49, El Cerrito
Quote: “If elected to Congress, I won’t be able to change a thing. I will, however, be a powerful voice of the working class.”

12 thoughts on “Red hot race to fill Tauscher’s seat: Which of 14 candidates do you like?

  1. Thanks SM. You did a lot of work for this, and it shows, complete with pictures and everything. I will be printing this out and reading at the gym. What a great service this is to the community!


  2. 7:21,

    LOL. Maybe they'll appoint a woman in the RNC for the same reason they elected Michael Steele. The Dems elected a Black man, so the Repubs had to show that they could elect one, too!

    You might as well delete the Repubs. Not one of those will get elected. The next governor will be a Dem, too.

    I believe that DeSaulnier will be elected. He's been a local, well-known political figure for some time.


  3. Buchanan: “getting people back to work. Sustaining economic growth”
    You want yet ANOTHER stimulus package! I don't think so.

    DeSaulnier: “affordable health care, the welfare of children and families, smart growth …”
    He'll vote for Obama's budget-busting health plan. Welfare is welfare. Smart Growth is dumb growth.

    John Garamendi: “green legislation, climate change, thousands of new jobs and economic growth.”
    How much will thousands of new jobs cost the taxpayers?


  4. Wow what that's some chutzpah:

    “the Federal Government follows California’s lead. Federal government has grown too big and expenditures greatly exceed tax revenues. This cannot continue. We need to reduce federal government by cutting the waste and mis-management”

    This from a 52 year old retired law enforcement official. I guess he thinks at 52 you are too old to work and it is just fine for the taxpayers to fund you for the rest of your life.


  5. I get nauseous reading this stuff… basically most of them our saying I'll get your money to do what I/my party wants….


  6. I know Joan…she is pretty incrediable. She managed to raise five kids single-handedly while still having the time and energy to serve on school board!! I don't think that Garamendi or Desaulnier could have done that. Needless to say, she has my vote…Go Joan!


  7. I agree, Joan knows how to get things done! And word on the street is she is leading in the polls….yay for a fellow soccer mom!


  8. Yes, I've heard that the 10th district is a woman's district and a strong woman like Joan would have an definite advantage. I heard this from someone unassociated with her campaign, so I assume it to be true.


  9. Why does anyone consider the 10th District a “womans” district? What makes it a “woman” seat?
    len Tauscher is the only woman to have been elected to this seat and I highly doubt that in her 11+ years in congress with a reapportionment occuring during that time that the male/female demographics have changed too much.

    Hearing something from someone who is not associated with a particular candidate's campaign does not make it true. Be a strong woman yourself, do the research on the district and the candidates and then make your decision as an informed voter.

    Voting for a candidate because of their sex, race, single issue positions etc. is not being a responsible voter. Make your vote really count if you want good representation in congress.


  10. 8:56,

    You may not like them, but one of those three will be your next rep.

    It will be between Garmendi and DeSaulnier. Buchanan doesn't have enough name recognition. Many people vote based on the candidate's name, and the snapshot of their bio and background.

    And, Tauscher has already endorsed DeSaulnier. The chances of anyone else winning is slim.


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