Garamendi Poll Shows Him Winning Tauscher Seat Special

Posted May 4, 2009 at 9:06pm

With one of his top opponents in Washington, D.C., this week raising money and soliciting support from interest groups, California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) released a poll Monday night showing him in the lead in the yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.).The poll of 400 likely special election voters, conducted Friday through Monday by JMM Research, showed Garamendi with 24 percent, Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf (R) — who has not declared his candidacy for Tauscher’s seat — with 17 percent, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D) with 13 percent and state Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D) with 10 percent. The poll had a 5-point margin of error.Candidates from all parties will appear together on one ballot during the first round of special-election balloting. If no candidate exceeds 50 percent of the vote, the top vote-getters from each party advance to a special general election two months later.Tauscher has been nominated for a top post at the State Department, but no date has been set for her confirmation hearing, so it is not clear when the special election to fill her East Bay Congressional seat will be held.Garamendi’s poll reflects recent developments in the race — and his high name recognition. A well-known veteran politician, Garamendi entered the Congressional contest just 10 days ago, abandoning his stalled gubernatorial bid. Until Garamendi entered the race, DeSaulnier was considered the front-runner. He had already picked up endorsements from Tauscher and Democratic Reps. George Miller and Dennis Cardoza, who represent nearby Congressional districts.Garamendi’s entry into the race had the secondary consequence of prompting Buchanan to jump in. She figured she had a chance with two prominent male candidates in the race.Garamendi has released his poll just as DeSaulnier is in the middle of a three-day visit to D.C., raising money at a Capitol Hill fundraiser co-hosted by Miller and Cardoza, and visiting interest groups.Although Rupf is a popular figure in the East Bay, he has taken no overt steps toward making a Congressional bid, and Democrats are heavily favored to win the seat.According to the poll, 80 percent of voters have heard of Garamendi, and he was seen favorably by 35 percent. Only 12 percent held an unfavorable view. DeSaulnier was known by 39 percent, with 16 percent holding a favorable opinion and 13 percent holding an unfavorable opinion. Buchanan was known by 45 percent, with 17 percent holding a favorable opinion and 12 percent holding an unfavorable opinion. Rupf was known by 20 percent, with 9 percent holding a favorable opinion and 9 percent holding an unfavorable opinion. “I have served the people of the 10th Congressional district in one form or another for decades,— Garamendi said in a statement. “This poll reflects my decades of public service fighting for issues that matter to voters in Contra Costa, Solano, Alameda, and Sacramento counties.—