Candidates file for open 10th District seat

July 20, 2009 7:31:39 PM PDT
It is already election season in a large part of the East Bay. Monday was the deadline for filing in the race for Ellen Tauscher's Congressional seat. Tauscher left the 10th Congressional seat when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton picked her for a post in the State Department.

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Most of the 10th Congressional District is in Contra Costa Country, but it also stretches into Alameda, Sacramento and Solano counties. The 10th District is heavily Democratic and the Democratic side of the ticket is drawing the biggest names.

At 5 p.m. on the dot, County Clerk Steve Weir locked the doors. Of the 13 candidates who took out filing papers, all from Contra Costa made the filing deadline.

On the Democratic side, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan are considered the front runners.

DeSaulnier has represented Contra Costa as a county supervisor and in the state assembly before being elected to the state senate last year. When Tauscher got the nod from Clinton, she threw her endorsement to DeSaulnier.

But in terms of name recognition, Garamendi is the most recognizable name in the contest. Garamendi pulled out of the race for governor when tauscher's seat came up. He has national endorsements and has raised $300,000.

But in the money race Garamendi is second to Buchanan, the state assemblywoman who was just elected last year. She has $313,000 in her war chest, but most of that is her money.

Political analyst Henry Brady says at this point, those three are the favorites.

"There's a fourth candidate whose very interesting too; Anthony Woods, 28-years-old, openly gay, an Iraq War veteran and went to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government," Brady said.

But against the current field, Brady says the race right now is between DeSaulnier, Garamendi and Buchanan.

"And I think what's going to happen is the party stalwarts, the Democrats, will find an issue that really matters to them and then one of them will take the lead," Brady said.

On the Republican side, there are just as many candidates but, Brady says, only one contender: David Harmer, a lawyer business man and son of a former lieutenant governor.

"An attractive guy, I think with some confidence, but doesn't have the background or experience of at least three of the Democratic candidates," Brady said.

Adriel Hampton is hoping it does not play out like that. A Democratic candidate, he is among the dark horses in the contest. He filed his papers Monday in Oakland and said, if the three big names split the vote, maybe a dark horse can work his way to the front.

"I go out and walk the district at night; I walk through downtown areas, I meet masses of voters personally," Hampton said. Candidates from the Green Party, the American Independent Party and the some undeclared independents took out papers, but normally they would have close to a month to turn them in.

"And in this election we had literally a week, so candidates have only had a week since the opening of nominations," Weir said.

Now it is the voters turn; the deadline for registering is August 17. Voting in the open primary will be September 1 and the general election November 3.

LINK: See how much each candidate has raised and how much of their own money they are spending

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