JELINCIC HOPES TO ATTRACT CONSERVATIVE DEMS UNDERSERVED BY STARK
By STEVEN TAVARES
CONGRESSYou would think the last place for a Democrat to be asking for votes would have been last week’s Tea Party in Pleasanton, but not for the candidate challenging Rep. Pete Stark this June.
Instead of vying for the votes of the staunchly liberal East Bay conclave and its long-time progressive representative, Democratic primary candidate Justin Jelincic is hoping to attract conservative Democrats he believes have long been marginalized.
“What Pete is doing is wrong and he doesn’t serve any of the people at this rally,” said campaign volunteer Jerry Jennaro who along with Jelincic’s brother manned the only Democratic booth at the Pleasanton Tea Party rally. The table drew sparse visitors throughout the rally, but many who walked past Jelincic’s banner calling for “Stark change” seemed to agree with the sentiment. When a Pleasanton resident learned I often covered Stark, he said, “Oh, I feel sorry for you.”
Jelincic’s brother, Jim, who is a dead ringer for the candidate except for a dash of salt in his dark brown hair, says supporters of the Tea Party movement are natural constituency for his brother. “What the Tea Party represents is part of his values,” said Jim Jelincic. “He wants to be more of a [John F.] Kennedy Democrat who can be a part more conservative.”
Jelincic’s web site is tailored to many of the Tea Party’s core beliefs of less government intervention, lower taxes and a desire to clear the politics slate back to the idealism of the nation’s founding, but also caters to Democrats. “We can fire Pete without firing the party,” states Jelincic.
The site also readily states Jelincic’s religious views as part of his political ideology on the belief the Bible contains wisdom useful in public discourse. Such open discussion of politics and religion runs counter to his Democratic primary opponent who is known as the highest-ranking Atheist in government.
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