California: DeSaulnier Gets Key Support From Tauscher

Posted March 30, 2009 at 6:22pm

Even with no vacancy yet and no date scheduled for a special election, there is plenty of jockeying already for the seat of Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D), who has been nominated for a high-level post at the State Department.

Perhaps the most significant development in the 10th district race was the decision last week by Tauscher and Rep. George Miller (D), who represents an adjoining district in the East Bay, to endorse state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D) for Tauscher’s seat. DeSaulnier, a veteran of state and local offices, must be considered the early frontrunner for the job.

But other Democrats are also mobilizing. State Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan released a poll last week showing her with a narrow lead over DeSaulnier. Buchanan was just elected to the Assembly last year, but she too is a veteran local office-holder and proven fundraiser.

“This is a great opportunity that doesn’t come along very often,— Buchanan told the Contra Costa Times in Monday’s edition. But the paper also reported that some Democratic leaders may lean on Buchanan to stay put because she represents a competitive legislative district.

In other jockeying for the seat, according to the Times: Former state Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla (D), a political moderate, met with consultants last week to discuss the possibility of running, and Dan Richard (D), a utility company executive, told the paper that he might be willing to self-fund a bid for the seat.

Republicans are also expected to field several candidates for the seat, even though the district has an 18-point Democratic edge in voter registration.

Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf, a Republican who wins nonpartisan elections for his county post, is considered the most formidable of the potential GOP candidates.