Tuesday's other House race
By Ben Pershing
With the special election contest between Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd district drawing so much attention, it's easy to overlook the fact that a second new member of Congress will be chosen Tuesday 3,000 miles away.
Voters in California's 10th district are picking a replacement for Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D), who resigned her post to take a position with the Obama State Department. The almost-certain winner: Democrat John Garamendi, the state's current lieutenant governor, who came out ahead of 13 other candidates in a September primary. Garamendi and the top Republican vote-getter in that contest, David Harmer, proceeded to Tuesday's runoff vote. Given the seat's strong Democratic tilt -- President Obama won the district with 65 percent of the vote in 2008 -- Garamendi is the prohibitive favorite to prevail.
Garamendi, 64, has a long record in California politics, having previously served as state insurance commissioner and a member of the state assembly and the state senate. He also put in a stint at the U.S. Department of the Interior during Bill Clinton's presidency, and spent much of his campaign emphasizing his support for health-care reform, including a "robust" public insurance option. Harmer, an attorney and former Congressional aide, has tried to paint Garamendi as too liberal, warning that the Democrat would be a "rubber stamp" for Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) agenda.
But winning the 10th district, which covers much of the East Bay, would probably be too tall an order for any Republican. The last publicly released survey of the race gave Garamendi a 10-point lead. Garamendi also outraised Harmer by a wide margin, and got in-person help from Obama and Clinton.
Assuming Garamendi wins Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will name a replacement lieutenant governor, though Schwarzenegger's choice must be approved by the Democrat-controlled state legislature.
November 3, 2009; 4:55 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Campaign , House
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