Garamendi Tops Field in Special, Likely to Succeed Tauscher in November

Posted September 2, 2009 at 6:07am

Updated: 8:12 a.m.California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) topped a crowded field Tuesday in the special primary in the 10th Congressional district, and he will be the prohibitive favorite to replace former Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D) in the November general election.With 100 percent of the precincts reporting in the East Bay district, Garamendi, far and away the best-known candidate in the race, took 26 percent of the vote, and he will face off against attorney David Harmer (R), who got 21 percent.But that margin is deceptive: Collectively, Democrats took about 65 percent of the vote in the all-party primary, which is about the same percentage that President Barack Obama won in the 2008 White House election. The key contest Tuesday was among Democrats.“I promise to stand with the residents of the 10th Congressional district in the fight to make life better for all of us,— Garamendi said in a statement issued this morning.Overall, about 96,000 voters turned out for the special election. State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D), who had the support of many grass-roots groups, finished third with 18 percent; state Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D), who dropped $600,000 of her own money into the race and was endorsed by EMILY’s List, got 12 percent; and Iraq War veteran Anthony Woods (D) took 8 percent.In his statement, Garamendi praised his Democratic foes:“Each has brought unique insights and skills to this campaign, and I look forward to working with them to help solve the challenges facing the 10th Congressional district, California and the nation.—Garamendi’s political career dates back to the 1970s and includes stints in statewide office as lieutenant governor and state insurance commissioner. He also served as deputy Interior secretary under former President Bill Clinton — and Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore each appeared in mailers endorsing his Congressional bid.It is not clear whether national Republicans will invest in Harmer’s campaign. Although he is a credible candidate — his father, John Harmer (R), served as California lieutenant governor under Ronald Reagan — the district, even with all the political volatility nationally, remains a Democratic stronghold.Tauscher resigned earlier this year to take a top post in the State Department.