California Dreaming - 2010 House Races

With the midterms only 10 months away it is time now to cast our eyes over the biggest state in the country - California.

How will we fare in 2010?

Below the fold for all the details and hey go check out the 2010 Race Tracker Wiki over at Open Congress for all your House, Senate and Gubernatorial needs.

(Cross posted at Daily Kos, MyDD and Open Left)

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Garamendi Runs for Congress - But in the Wrong District

With his fourth run for Governor failing to get traction, Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi yesterday announced his plan to run for Congress in the East Bay's 10th District - in a special election to replace Ellen Tauscher.  On name recognition alone, Garamendi will be the front-runner in a crowded field - although State Senator Mark DeSaulnier has key endorsements that will make it competitive.  But while running for Congress is a smart move for Garamendi, it would be far better for Democrats - and progressive politics - for him to run in District 3 against Republican incumbent Dan Lungren.  Tauscher's seat is safe for Democrats regardless of who runs in the special election, while Garamendi is probably one of the few candidates who can win District 3.  He has deep roots in the 3rd District - which includes a large swath of the Sacramento suburbs, along with Garamendi's native Calaveras County.  It is traditionally a "red" district, but Barack Obama carried it last November - and Lungren came unexpectedly close to losing to an under-funded Democratic challenger.  At a time when Democratic activists are pushing the Party to take back"Red California," Garamendi's choice of districts could not be more disheartening and misguided.  Expect this to become an issue at this weekend's State Democratic Convention.

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CA-03: Progressive Democrat Dr. Bill Durston in Dead Heat with Incumbent Lungren

Dr. Bill Durston, a progressive Democrat running for Congress in California's 3rd Congressional District has just released a poll that shows that he is in a dead heat against the Republican incumbent, Dan Lungren.

From an email sent to Durston for Congress supporters on Tuesday, October 7th:

We've just received great news from a poll of 500 likely voters conducted by the respected polling firm, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, and Associates. Dr. Bill Durston is in a statistical dead heat with Dan Lungren in California's 3rd Congressional District!
When voters were asked who they would vote for if they were to vote today, 33% chose Lungren, 30%, chose Bill, 7% chose another candidate, and 30% were undecided. With a margin of error of 4%, the differences between Bill and Lungren were not statistically significant.

After hearing a positive profile about both Lungren and Bill, the tallies were even closer - 39% for Lungren and 38% for Bill. After hearing about some of Lungren's many shortcomings, including his Hawaii vacation paid for by special interests, his allegiance to the Bush-Cheney administration, and his fondness for taking money from Big Oil, voters chose Bill over Lungren by a margin of 43% to 34%, a difference which is highly statistically significant.

This news should bring more attention to the race for this seat. David Dayen from the Calitics blog wrote:

This could be a good time for outside groups to jump in.  CA-03 is one of those under-the-radar seats nationwide that is very, very winnable, and a late push could easily put Durston over the top.  Furthermore, he's a solid progressive Democrat who supports single-payer.

Once the voters of the 3rd Congressional District learn that Dr. Bill Durston is a decorated Marine combat Vietnam veteran and an emergency room physician, who has served both the country and his community, they will vote for him.  They are even more likely to vote for Bill when they learn that their current Representative, career politician and carpet-bagger Dan Lungren, cares more about the big money corporate special interests than he does about the people of his district. 

Hopefully, once the voters hear about some of Lungren's shortcomings, Durston will take the lead.

With your help, we will prove the politicos wrong and put Bill Durston into office!

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CA-03: Bill Durston gets some press while fighting against taxpayer-funded Lungren

In today's Sacramento Bee newspaper Dr. Bill Durston finally got some press coverage about his race against one of the most well-known California Republicans, Dan Lungren. You can decide whether it was a positive article or not, but one thing is for sure: Bill Durston is putting up a fight for this seat.

Part of Durston's fight to "take back our government from the special interests that control it, and to restore government of, by, and for the people" is online. He has recently created a video that pieces together clips from a debate he had with Lungren in 2006 about corruption and a more recent ABC News segment in which Lungren is found to be taking luxury vacations paid for by special interests, despite House ethics laws which prohibit such trips. If that video gets you riled up about Lungren, please consider sending Durston some love on his ActBlue page.

Speaking of ethics issues and abuse of power, one of the reasons Durston is having to fight such an uphill battle against Lungren, who refuses to debate him this year, is the fact that Lungren is paying for much of his campaigning with taxpayer money. Lungren has three "town hall meetings" coming up in the district next week and he is promoting them with color advertisements in the Sacramento Bee (a quarter-page full-color ad appeared Aug. 4), automated mass phone calls, and a fancy color mailer touting his "energy plan" that went out to residents of the 3rd congressional district. In tiny text on the mailer is: "This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense." These town hall meetings are nothing more than campaign stops. It's outrageous that Lungren's campaign for re-election is being funded by taxpayers like you, me, and Bill Durston himself.

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