Stark Says He Plans To Run For Re-Election in 2012

By Steven Tavares
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Rep. Pete Stark says he is healthy and planning for a run at re-election in 2012.

“What would make me reconsider,” Stark told the Oakland Tribune, “I don’t know–Secretary of the Treasury? No, I plan to run. My health is good.”

The 19-time congressman from the East Bay is joking about an appointment to replace Timothy Geithner, but he again, despite his age (he’ll turn 80 in November) is showing no signs of slowing down after health  issues plagued him two years ago while fueling speculation his time in House was nearing an end.

The release last week by the Citizens’ Redistricting Commission to merge the districts of Stark and nearby Rep. Jerry McNerney, though, again raises questions of whether the potential of a hard-fought campaign next year is in the cards.

McNerney told the Contra Costa Times he is also running in 2012, but did not say where.

Voters McNerney’s 11th congressional district have made forced the Democrat to run three grueling campaigns after defeating Richard Pombo. In light of the Central Valley’s growing political clout and more moderate voters than Stark’s East Bay conclave, an easy campaign is doubtful. In the last month, Republican groups already placed robocall among constituents in McNerney’s district, as well as Rep. John Garamendi’s neighboring district.
Nevertheless, Stark told the Tribune he does not believe the proposed maps will change the make up of his district.

“For the rest of us, you just wait and see,” he said. “The commission is going to come up with a plan, and if it’s really bad I guess somebody will file a lawsuit. I don’t think there’s any of us among the nine who care. Barbara Lee and I have represented Alameda County for I don’t know how long, I don’t know why they would move us out of there. They might, but I don’t think it would make much sense.”

Stark did say, though, Rep. Anna Eshoo’s moderately conservative 14th District could flip if she chooses to retire.

With a throng of politicians state-wide throwing themselves into future races in the aftermath of Friday’s release of the first draft maps, there are very few positives for a long-time incumbent like Stark to make a decision on re-election at this point. The maps are not final and almost every politician in the East Bay, is just champing at the bit to grab his House seat, if and only, Stark were to retire. In the meantime, the 13th remains a hotbed of tantalizing speculation and rumor.