David Harmer For Congress

The SF Chronicle has a story about Republican David Harmer's efforts to unseat Jerry McNearney, presently the Democratic Congressman representing California's 11th congressional district. Thanks to the miracle of gerrymandering, and the lazy left-liberalism that has been the state's default political setting, this is hthe only congressional seat in the entire state that can be called "hotly contested"

Republicans are trying to regain control of Congress in November but political oddsmakers have said there is only one Democrat in California at risk of losing his congressional seat - Rep. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.

His challenger in the Bay Area's 11th Congressional District is Republican David Harmer, an attorney who says he is running to rein in federal spending.

Republicans are using the same charges against McNerney as they are against Democrats around the country - that he supports bigger government, has voted to increase taxes and is in lockstep with his party's leadership.

"On every major vote, he's stood with the Obama-Pelosi agenda and I don't think that agenda is good for the district," said Harmer, who lost to Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove (Sacramento County), in last year's special election in the 10th Congressional District.

The 11th district, which includes parts of Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties, is considered competitive because it includes liberal East Bay suburbs and more rural, conservative areas in the state's interior.

The 11th has a funny history. It used to be represented by Richard Pombo, who was by far the most conservative member of the Bay Area's congressional delegation. It has tended to support California's Democratic Senators, while also voting for Republican executive officers. In fact, in 2004, the 11th voted for George W Bush for president and Barbara Boxer for Senate. This may be the ultimate expression of the inertial power of incumbency. The district's boundaries are a classic of gerrymandering:

Really, if you had walked up to me at a bar and bet me that Lodi was in the same congressional district as Morgan Hill, I would have lost that bet. I guess politics really is the art of the possible.

Despite running in a district that travels all over creation, Harmer doesn't actually live in it. He lives in a part of San Ramon, which lies outside the district's boundaries. No problem. California law allows anyone to run for congress in any district so long as they live in California. Plus, Harmer says he shops in the 11th, has his kids going to school in the 11th, etc. Whatever. If Alan Keyes can run for Senate in Illinois, what's the harm in letting Harmer run in the 11th?

Harmer is an OG California Republican whose dad was a state senator and lieutenant governor during the Gov. Reagan era. He's running more on economics than social issues, hammering Rep. McNearney who has voted on the Pelosi line for the past two years (McNearney says he's "not a partisan hack." Whew!).

According to the latest polling, McNearney has a slim 42-40 lead over Harmer. Frustratingly, there is a third party candidate named David Christensen who is drawing 4% of the vote. As Christensen is on the right-wing fringe American Independent Party, those votes are coming out of Harmer's hide. That's the lunatic fringe for you: if they're going to hell, they'll drag the rest of us down with them.

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