Tauscher, Miller Endorse DeSaulnier in California Special

Posted March 27, 2009 at 12:29pm

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) said Friday she is backing state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D) to replace her in Congress.

Although no special election has been scheduled yet in the 10th district — Tauscher has not yet resigned her seat, nor has the Senate confirmed her appointment as an assistant secretary of State — the Congresswoman and Rep. George Miller (D), who represents a neighboring East Bay district, weighed in this week on DeSaulnier’s behalf.

Tauscher told the Contra Costa Times in Friday’s editions that DeSaulnier is “a seasoned, hardworking public servant who would do a great job.— Miller, in the same article, called the Senator “a tremendous advocate and representative for our constituents.—

The publicity offensive for DeSaulnier comes a day after another potential candidate in the nascent special election, state Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D), released a poll showing her with a narrow advantage over DeSaulnier in a hypothetical special open primary.

Under California law, candidates of all parties appear together on one ballot in a special open Congressional primary. If no candidate tops 50 percent of the vote, the top vote-getters from each party advance to a special general election.

In a strategy memo prepared for DeSaulnier this week and obtained by Roll Call, the consulting firm EMC Research argues that the state Senator is the strongest candidate for Tauscher’s seat because he already represents two-thirds of the Congressional district in the Legislature.

“Considering his career as a State Senator, Assemblyman, and County Supervisor, more of DeSaulnier’s political base resides in Congressional District 10 than several other potential candidates,— consultants Alex Evans and Tom Patras wrote.

Tauscher’s decision to endorse a candidate in the race to replace her stands in contrast to former Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), President Barack Obama’s new secretary of Labor, who has remained neutral in the special election for her Los Angeles-area seat. Several of Solis’ operatives and family members, however, are backing state Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu (D) over state Sen. Gil Cedillo (D).

Other potential candidates for Tauscher’s seat include, on the Democratic side, former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, Dan Richard, former director of the BART mass transit system, and former Lafayette Mayor Scott Talon. Adriel Hampton, an assistant city attorney in San Francisco, has already announced his intention to run.

Several Republicans are also considering getting into the race, but the Democrats will be heavily favored to hold the seat.