Monday, January 22, 2007

CA-11: Campaign 2008 Has Already Begun

Oh... My... Goodness!

If you thought it was hard for Jerry McNerney to unseat Pombo in 2006, just wait until 2008...
Or not, especially since the Republicans are already laying the groundwork to retake the 11th District.

So what can we do to help McNerney hold onto CA-11? What can we do to keep this area blue?

I still remember what happened in the 11th last year. I remember way back when, when I wondered if it was more likely that Pete McCloskey would beat Pombo in the Republican Primary than any Democrat knocking off Pombo. Oh yes, and I still remember the Democratic Primary and the "mysterious forces" behind Steve Filson. I remember how the DCCC originally gave McNerney the cold shrug after he won the primary, and I must admit that I'm still somewhat miffed about it. However, I remember how the Republicans freaked out at the last minute, as they finally began to realize that Pombo was in deep trouble.

And despite all that happened, McNerney won by a fairly comfortable margin last November. I was excited to hear McNerney give the Democratic national radio address last month, and I was just elated to see McNerney sworn in with the rest of the Democratic majority just eighteen days ago. Everything seemed so great...

Until I saw THIS! From the Contra Costa Times:

"Why would you reward someone who broke the law? It doesn't make sense," says the flier, which McNerney supporters uploaded this week to the Calitics and Say No To Pombo blogs. "But that's what Jerry McNerney wants to do. He wants to reward illegal aliens with Social Security benefits, even though they entered our country illegally."

According to the flier, which cites an August 2006 newspaper story on the U.S. Senate's bipartisan immigration-reform plan, the plan McNerney supports would jeopardize Social Security's future. "If Jerry McNerney wants to let illegal aliens get Social Security, what other ideas does he have to encourage illegal aliens to break our laws?" it asks.

Already, the NRCC is back in full gear... But do they also have a candidate in mind?
From the SF Chronicle:

"There's no way the Republicans are going to concede that seat,'' said Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, whose district has some overlap with McNerney's 11th Congressional District, which cuts across parts of Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties.

Houston, who is contemplating a challenge against McNerney in 2008, will be in Washington next month to talk to GOP leaders. Pombo, 46, a Tracy cattle rancher who was chairman of the House Resources Committee when he was defeated in November, has not ruled out running again.

From what I am hearing now, Houston may be a formidable opponent. He already represents many of the CA-11 voters in the Assembly. The Republicans are already starting to cheer him on. I've heard that Houston sells himself as a reasonable "moderate", though I think his voting record says something else. Oh yes, and voters in this swing district will be voting for President in 2008!

So what does this all mean for Jerry McNerney? Well, I'm hoping that all this motivates him and the Bay Area activists to work hard to get him reelected...
And hopefully, just as hard as they worked to get him elected last year! This is a purple seat that is fast trending blue, so it's not as if Republicans have that much of an advantage in this region. This time last year, people told us that Pombo could not be taken down. Now, these same folks are telling us that McNerney cannot survive next year. All we need to do is keep up the grassroots activism, and encourage McNerney to keep in touch with his district, and I think we shouldn't have a problem keeping CA-11 blue!

(Cross-posted at Calitics, and at Swing State Project)

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