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Garamendi Likely Headed to Congress

California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi. (AP Photo).

By Ben Pershing
California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) is likely headed to Congress this fall after trumping a crowded field Tuesday in the race to fill a vacant Bay Area House seat.

Garamendi took 26 percent of the vote against 13 other candidates running to succeed ex-Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D), who resigned the 10th district seat to take a position in the State Department.

Because no candidate got 50 percent of the vote Tuesday, the top finisher from each party will advance to a Nov. 3 contest. Given the strong Democratic tilt of the seat, Garamendi is the heavy favorite to defeat Republican David Harmer in that race.

Garamendi, 64, entered the special election campaign with a clear advantage in name identification, currently serving as lieutenant governor and previously as state insurance commissioner. That familiarity and a strong fundraising network helped Garamendi defeat other prominent Democrats, including state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, state Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan and Anthony Woods, an openly gay African-American Iraq war veteran whose campaign drew media attention.

DeSaulnier -- who criticized Garamendi relentlessly for living just outside the district -- came in second among Democrats, with 17 percent of the vote, while the Republican Harmer took 21 percent.

All of the major Democrats ran on liberal platforms. Garamendi advertised his support for "universal health care" and said he would "fight for a robust public option."

Assuming Garamendi wins in November, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would appoint a replacement lieutenant governor, though his pick would have to be approved by the state Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats.

By Ben Pershing  |  September 2, 2009; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Campaign , House  
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I used to to work at DOI when Garamendi was there and had many dealings with this guy. He might do a good job for California if he doesn't let his California-sized ego get in the way. He was was pretty rude and demanding to subordinates.

Posted by: concerned45 | September 2, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I guess the election must be over since the Post is predicting a winner before any votes are cast in the runoff.

You may be surprised if David Harmer wins. I know I will be as I have absolutely no faith that Californians have a whit of sense left and are very likely to continue down the path of total failure that decades of democratic party politics have delivered to them.

Posted by: jshaver001 | September 2, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

You can polish a turd all day and the end of the day you still have a turd, If the voters are happy with the situation in Sacramento, they should vote for Garamendi.

Posted by: carlbatey | September 2, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

the way he handled executive life his next job should be behind the steam tray in a cafeteria somewhere asking peas or carrots

Posted by: philoernie | September 2, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I was proud to cast my vote for Lt. Gov. Garamendi yesterday and am excited he's going to represent my district in Congress. My only regret is that he will no longer be running for Governor- he was the most qualified candidate and has served Californians honorably over his political career.

Posted by: mn121 | September 2, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

John Garamendi plays a key role in connecting California with Washington. How he handles healthcare reform both nationally and within the state will determine his overall effectiveness.

Posted by: brujos1 | September 3, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I too worked for John when he was insurance commissioner (the first time). I found him to be an outstanding leader, polite and supportive to staff, and of great courage and character. In my career I interacted with many politicians. None were any better than John.

Posted by: ron95501 | September 7, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

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