Swalwell’s Re-Election Bid To Conjure The Ghost Of Pete Stark

PHOTO/Shane Bond ILLUSTRATION/Steven Tavares

CONGRESS//15TH DISTRICT | In 2012, Eric Swalwell had everything go right for him. A lengthy list of East Bay Democrats put off challenging 40-year incumbent Pete Stark last year, state redistricting soften up the then 13th Congressional District into a slightly lighter shade of blue and his opponent virtually imploded without explanation. The rise of Swalwell came about through an inexplicable perfect storm. So, how does the young moderate Democrat replicate the fortunate events of 2012? He can’t. However, earlier indications suggest Swalwell will run for re-election next year on a platform that conjures the ghost of Stark, primarily labeling his Democratic opponent, State Sen. Ellen Corbett, as a vote for the past.

In an email last week to supporters, Swalwell highlighted the $2,000 contribution from Stark’s former re-election committee to Corbett’s campaign to create a link between the two long-time progressives. “Last week, Pete Stark donated thousands of dollars to my Primary Election opponent, in the hopes that she will serve his 21st term in Congress and the East Bay will once again have a representative just like him,” the solicitation for campaign contributions said. “Let’s show Pete Stark that his days of dictating East Bay politics are over.” Later in the email, Swalwell boiled down his 2014 campaign playbook to a single sentence. “Pete Stark’s hand-picked successor is a step backwards we can’t afford.” A few days later, Swalwell’s campaign Twitter account featured a photo of him chatting with a constituent, along with the caption, “Giving voters a choice: keep moving forward or back to tired, same old ways.”There is a problem, tough. Corbett is not Stark, by any means. She is widely known as courteous, approachable and accomplished. Most importantly, she has never been prone to the “diarrhea of the mouth” moments that riddled Stark, not just in last year’s election, but for the last 20 years.

Despite his youthful choir boy persona, Swalwell is actually a very aggressive campaigner—downright dirty, at times. A year ago, he got away with labeling the 80-year-old Stark as “out of touch” and slow-minded. Deploying such hateful ageism was very risky, but Stark’s behavior may have squandered any sympathy. Apparently, he will try sexism this time around. A lone female candidate is always problematic for a male opponent and implying, like he did in his tweet this week, a middle-aged woman is “tired” is asking for trouble. Will women voters pick up on Swalwell’s sly sexism? Likely. But, he won’t be actually running against Corbett as much as trying to talk up Stark and the baggage he still carries, since what are the alternatives?

Swalwell is a freshman member of congress who through one year in office has accomplished zero. A PowerPoint he employs at town hall meetings is cringe-worthy in its struggles to show any achievement other than representing youthful potential at some point in time. In all fairness, it is expected. He is one of 535 members and one without any seniority or precise ideological bent. Running on experience is, of course, foolhardy. Not only does Corbett have a long resume of legislation in Sacramento, she also beats him on a personal and private level, which also makes the sexism gambit a perilous move. As a single mother who juggled raising a son with, first, serving as mayor of San Leandro and later with terms in both houses of the State Legislature, Corbett’s private life is overflowing with positive cues not only to women voters, but males, too.

The “do you really want to change horses in midstream?” plan and “Back to the Future” gambit is Swalwell’s only good moves, but also telling ones. It suggests his campaign again sees trouble in the district’s more progressive areas around Hayward. Why? How can you raise the ghost of Stark with any success in Hayward? It’s an area Swalwell was not competitive last time around. However, the key for Swalwell is again in the more moderate Tri Valley. During the recent government shutdown, Swalwell was forceful in opposition to the Tea Party, a small, but very vocal group in the district, that raised hell in opposition to Stark over the past three years. Will they flee from Swalwell next year? It might not matter, at least, in the June primary since there does not appear to be a Republican candidate like Chris Pareja for that conservative bloc to go. In the meantime, the strategy to repeatedly link Corbett to Stark comes into play, especially with low-information voters who only recall their distaste for Stark only one year ago.

As a House incumbent, Swalwell should not be beatable. However, his luck could be starting to run out because the only person in the entire East Bay who could possible make him a one-term congressman is Corbett. After only two years on the sleepy Dublin City Council, Swalwell sits in D.C. It didn’t happen without him selling his soul. Time will tell which apparition comes back to haunt him first: Stark or the Devil calling in his chits.



Categories: 2014 Election, ageism, CD15, congress, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, Hayward, legislature, moderates, Pete Stark, playbook, sexism, single mother, Tri Valley

150 replies

  1. Tony Santos is right about the history of Corbett's wins – however – all Open Seat races, never has she taken on the incumbent AND at such a high level – Congress.

    The fact that she is struggling to raise significant money nearly a year out – shows a lack of support.

    When you take on an incumbent – it is saying that the other person deserves to be fired. What significant thing has Swalwell done to deserve to be fired in his first term? I haven't seen anything except name calling here and that doesn't cut it.

    Like

  2. Still no cigar. You don't like the congressman because he took on your establishment candidate. This is exactly while he'll win hands down one year from now.

    Agreed. This poor excuse for a carpetbagger who moved into Hayward for no reason other than look for another job will be back in San Leandro the day after she loses.

    Like

  3. Anons 2:28 and 10:22 same person–we know you are probably a Swalwell staffer trying desperately to change the subject from your bosses flip-flops, taking money from mega corporations like big pharma, etc. You should be ashamed Mr Hayward troll and shill for Swalwell. Please get the help you need. If I had a mistake prone boss like yours I would try and change the subject too. I wouldn't make stuff up and LIE about it though.

    Like

  4. Boy, the poster/posser above really offers a straw man. There's no 'there' there.

    Like

  5. Since Eric has authored no significant legislation in Washington, I'll take Ellen Corbett who has authored significant legislation to help the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, etc.

    Like

  6. Eric is not running against Stark this time with his irascible temperament and personality. Ellen Corbett is a much more formidable foe and an extremely likable and capable politician. She is very likely to win as she has helped many people in this area over the years. I know our family will be supporting her.

    Like

  7. Dorcas, you continue to lie.

    Folks, the previous two comments come from one Dorcas Wentzel. She also goes by the name Space Ho. She is 67 years old and lives in her parents basement in Berkeley. Her adopted mother has disowned her and good folks, including Ted Corbett, ex-husband of Ellen, are trying to have her returned to Napa, where she was institutionalized. She is off her meds again and continues to have this pathetic, insane fixation with Ellen Corbett. Ellen has refused anything to do with Dorcas but she continues to fantasize to the point of an almost fatal attraction.

    Please excuse her wild and ranting impersonations of everyone from a Mexican to our country's veterans. She is deeply, deeply disturbed.

    Like

  8. Anon above: What the hell are you talking about? Are you off your meds? You make no sense. It seems you are in need of some help.

    Like

  9. Well, the Space HO's at it again.

    Continue to tune out her bloated bitch ass.

    Like

  10. The only person we are tuning out is you 2:03. What an idiot. Why waste our time? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Like

  11. Tony Santos is right about the history of Corbett's wins – however – all Open Seat races, never has she taken on the incumbent AND at such a high level – Congress.

    The fact that she is struggling to raise significant money nearly a year out – shows a lack of support.

    When you take on an incumbent – it is saying that the other person deserves to be fired. What significant thing has Swalwell done to deserve to be fired in his first term? I haven't seen anything except name calling here and that doesn't cut it.

    Like

  12. Eric is not running against Stark this time with his irascible temperament and personality. Ellen Corbett is a much more formidable foe and an extremely likable and capable politician. She is very likely to win as she has helped many people in this area over the years. I know our family will be supporting her.

    Like

  13. Since Eric has authored no significant legislation in Washington, I'll take Ellen Corbett who has authored significant legislation to help the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, etc.

    Like

  14. Dorcas, you continue to lie.

    Folks, the previous two comments come from one Dorcas Wentzel. She also goes by the name Space Ho. She is 67 years old and lives in her parents basement in Berkeley. Her adopted mother has disowned her and good folks, including Ted Corbett, ex-husband of Ellen, are trying to have her returned to Napa, where she was institutionalized. She is off her meds again and continues to have this pathetic, insane fixation with Ellen Corbett. Ellen has refused anything to do with Dorcas but she continues to fantasize to the point of an almost fatal attraction.

    Please excuse her wild and ranting impersonations of everyone from a Mexican to our country's veterans. She is deeply, deeply disturbed.

    Like

  15. Anon above—-It certainly seems like you are the mentally disturbed one. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  16. According to this Oct 16 article a large part of Swalwell's contributions came from the medical and pharmaceutical vested interest groups. These are the same groups that have been sticking it to the middle class and poor for years. My family and I will be voting for Ellen Corbett next year.

    Like

  17. Since Eric has authored no significant legislation in Washington, I'll take Ellen Corbett who has authored significant legislation to help the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, etc.

    Like

  18. Anonymous 11:49 AM Are you mentally all right? You really sound like an irrational person. Hope you get the help you need.

    Like

  19. Still no cigar. You don't like the congressman because he took on your establishment candidate. This is exactly while he'll win hands down one year from now.

    Agreed. This poor excuse for a carpetbagger who moved into Hayward for no reason other than look for another job will be back in San Leandro the day after she loses.

    Like

  20. As far as flip-flopping goes Swalwell taken so many different
    positions on so many topics he can't even remember them all.
    Just check out the local papers and the ebcitizen. Tavares
    even did more than one article on his flip-flops. He told people
    he was for the chained CPI, then he was against it. He told
    people he was for changes to Social Security, then he was
    against them. Not a good track record on consumer bills after
    he took corporate money either. Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop.

    Like

  21. Since Eric has authored no significant legislation in Washington, I'll take Ellen Corbett who has authored significant legislation to help the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, etc.

    Like

  22. To the anon 11:24 poster—-Well what do you know? It's the Swalwell troll, stooge, shill, staffer (pick one cause there's only one). Remember the name Eric ” the corrupt flip-flopper” Swalwell if you want to vote for the developers wet dream or the mega-corporations best friend.

    If you check the Citizen articles you will find Swalwell not Corbett has been bought and paid for by big business, large corporations, big pharma, etc. I'll take Corbett any day with her outstanding pro-consumer voting record. Go get him Ellen because you have a good chance of winning. Eric only won because people thought Stark was losing it. I also voted for Swalwell, but won't again. He's too inexperienced, corrupt and changes his mind on issues all the time.

    If I had a mistake prone boss like yours, I'd try and change the topic too!

    Like

  23. Dorcas, you continue to lie.

    Folks, the previous three comments come from one Dorcas Wentzel. She also goes by the name Space Ho. She is 67 years old and lives in her parents basement in Berkeley. Her adopted mother has disowned her and good folks, including Ted Corbett, ex-husband of Ellen, are trying to have her returned to Napa, where she was institutionalized. She is off her meds again and continues to have this pathetic, insane fixation with Ellen Corbett. Ellen has refused anything to do with Dorcas but she continues to fantasize to the point of an almost fatal attraction.

    Please excuse her wild and ranting impersonations of everyone from a Mexican to our country's veterans. She is deeply, deeply disturbed.

    Like

  24. To the anon 7:27 poster—-Well what do you know? It's the Swalwell troll, stooge, shill, staffer (pick one cause there's only one). Remember the name Eric ” the corrupt flip-flopper” Swalwell if you want to vote for the developers wet dream or the mega-corporations best friend.

    If you check the Citizen articles you will find Swalwell not Corbett has been bought and paid for by big business, large corporations, big pharma, etc. I'll take Corbett any day with her outstanding pro-consumer voting record. Go get him Ellen because you have a good chance of winning. Eric only won because people thought Stark was losing it. I also voted for Swalwell, but won't again. He's too inexperienced, corrupt and changes his mind on issues all the time.

    If I had a mistake prone boss like yours, I'd try and change the topic too!

    Like

  25. Well 7:27, it seems like you are the one that is mentally disturbed. No one knows what you are talking about. Your ranting is unbelievable and shows a mental instability that only a professional can help. Why waste our time?

    Like

  26. 7:27 pm Do you even know what you are talking about? You have got to be the biggest dork on this blog!

    Like

  27. It doesn't matter who Bill or Pete support. It will come down to Ellen vs. Eric. It will be Ellen's experience and accomplishments in the Senate vs. Eric's inexperience and lack of accomplishments in Congress. This school teacher thinks Ellen Corbett deserves to be elected to Congress next year based on the criteria just enunciated.

    Like

  28. Agree with 9:01 PM, my family and I will never vote for Swalwell again, he's screwed up right and left, as the citizen has pointed out, and he seems to be devoid of any principles. I'm a conservative who lives in Livermore and will vote for anyone else before that two faced attorney. Like it or not, I do know where Corbett stands. Even though I disagree with some of the things she does, I like her as a person and will vote for her if the choice is between the two of them.

    Like

  29. Eric wants to try and run against Stark again but Ellen's to smart and popular to let that happen. Eventually it will boil down to Eric running on his merits and accomplishments, and Ellen running on her merits and accomplishments. I think it's fair to say Eric has accomplished very little and Ellen has accomplished much more. Ellen wins 55%-45% in 2014.

    Like

  30. I like Ellen too but I don't know if she will win by much. I'll take 52-48 and be immensely happy, and I'll bet Corbett will too. I do agree when Swalwell was on the Dublin City Council he did nothing and so far in Congress also has authored no significant legislation, but has signed on to other Dems bills. Ellen Corbett, by contrast, has authored signifiant legislation benefitting the middle class and lower middle class.

    Like

  31. Whorbett wants to try and run against Stark again but congressman Swalwell is too smart and popular to let that happen. Eventually it will boil down to Whorbett running on her merits and accomplishments, and congressman Swalwell running on his merits and accomplishments. I think it's fair to say Whorebett has accomplished very little and congressman Swalwell has accomplished much more. Bitch loses in a landslide.

    Like

  32. Swalwell staffer– you can't even copy correctly. What a joke!

    Eric wants to try and run against Stark again but Ellen's to smart and popular to let that happen. Eventually it will boil down to Eric running on his merits and accomplishments, and Ellen running on her merits and accomplishments. I think it's fair to say Eric has accomplished very little and Ellen has accomplished much more. Ellen wins 55%-45% in 2014.

    Like

  33. Whorbett wants to try and run against Stark again but congressman Swalwell is too smart and popular to let that happen. Eventually it will boil down to Whorbett running on her merits and accomplishments, and congressman Swalwell running on his merits and accomplishments. I think it's fair to say Whorebett has accomplished very little and congressman Swalwell has accomplished much more. Bitch loses in a landslide.

    Like

  34. Swalwell staffer– you can't even copy correctly. What a joke!

    Eric wants to try and run against Stark again but Ellen's to smart and popular to let that happen. Eventually it will boil down to Eric running on his merits and accomplishments, and Ellen running on her merits and accomplishments. I think it's fair to say Eric has accomplished very little and Ellen has accomplished much more. Ellen wins 55%-45% in 2014.

    Like

  35. To the anon 8:40 poster—-Well what do you know? It's the Swalwell troll, stooge, shill, staffer (pick one cause there's only one). Remember the name Eric ” the corrupt flip-flopper” Swalwell if you want to vote for the developers wet dream or the mega-corporations best friend.

    If you check the Citizen article you will find Swalwell not Corbett has been bought and paid for by big business, large corporations, big pharma, etc. I'll take Corbett any day with her outstanding pro-consumer voting record. Go get him Ellen because you have a good chance of winning. Eric only won because people thought Stark was losing it. I also voted for Swalwell, but won't again. He's too inexperienced, corrupt and changes his mind on issues all the time.

    If I had a mistake prone boss like yours, I'd try and change the topic too!

    Like

  36. Dorcas, you continue to lie.

    Folks, the previous three comments come from one Dorcas Wentzel. She also goes by the name Space Ho. She is 67 years old and lives in her parents basement in Berkeley. Her adopted mother has disowned her and good folks, including Ted Corbett, ex-husband of Ellen, are trying to have her returned to Napa, where she was institutionalized. She is off her meds again and continues to have this pathetic, insane fixation with Ellen Corbett. Ellen has refused anything to do with Dorcas but she continues to fantasize to the point of an almost fatal attraction.

    Please excuse her wild and ranting impersonations of everyone from a Mexican to our country's veterans. She is deeply, deeply disturbed.

    Like

  37. Anon 7:18 The only one ranting and raving is you Mr. antiunion sexist troll. No one knows what you are talking about. We do know you are mentally disturbed and off your meds again. Please get the help you need. The rest of us will pray for you as we vote for Ellen Corbett.

    Like

  38. Since Eric has authored no significant legislation in Washington, I'll take Ellen Corbett who has authored significant legislation to help the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, etc.

    Like

  39. If you check the Citizen articles you will find Swalwell not Corbett has been bought and paid for by big business, large corporations, big pharma, etc. I'll take Corbett any day with her outstanding pro-consumer voting record. Go get him Ellen because you have a good chance of winning. Eric only won because people thought Stark was losing it. I also voted for Swalwell, but won't again. He's too inexperienced, corrupt and changes his mind on issues all the time.

    Like

  40. Still no cigar. You don't like the congressman because he took on your establishment candidate. This is exactly while he'll win hands down one year from now.

    Agreed. This poor excuse for a carpetbagger who moved into Hayward for no reason other than look for another job will be back in San Leandro the day after she loses.

    Like

  41. To the anon 8:50 poster above—-Well what do you know? It's the Swalwell troll, stooge, shill, staffer (pick one cause there's only one). Remember the name Eric ” the corrupt flip-flopper” Swalwell if you want to vote for the developers wet dream or the mega-corporations best friend.

    If you check the Citizen article you will find Swalwell not Corbett has been bought and paid for by big business, large corporations, big pharma, etc. I'll take Corbett any day with her outstanding pro-consumer voting record. Go get him Ellen because you have a good chance of winning. Eric only won because people thought Stark was losing it. I also voted for Swalwell, but won't again. He's too inexperienced, corrupt and changes his mind on issues all the time.

    If I had a mistake prone boss like yours, I'd try and change the topic too!

    Like

  42. Since Eric has authored no significant legislation in Washington, I'll take Ellen Corbett who has authored significant legislation to help the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, etc.

    Like

  43. Perhaps Ms. Corbett could go to work in the congressman's office next year as an unpaid intern. This would be one way for her to learn about the job and gain some experience. Perhaps in the future she might then be up to some form of advancement. Right now to even think about a congressional run is a fantasy for an inexperienced novice such as herself.

    Trying to be positive.

    Like

  44. Agree with 11:41 PM, my family and I will never vote for Swalwell again, he's screwed up right and left, as the citizen has pointed out, and he seems to be devoid of any principles. I'm a conservative who lives in Livermore and will vote for anyone else before that two faced attorney. Like it or not, I do know where Corbett stands. Even though I disagree with some of the things she does, I like her as a person and will vote for her if the choice is between the two of them.

    Like

  45. Corbett made a BIG MISTAKE, she didn't run against Stark when she knew he was losing it.
    She did nothing while in office in San Leandro, but pick out new office furniture for city hall.

    Her time is past and she is old news.

    Like

  46. Since Eric has authored no significant legislation in Washington, I'll take Ellen Corbett who has authored significant legislation to help the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, etc.

    Like

  47. Eric wants to try and run against Stark again but Ellen's to smart and popular to let that happen. Eventually it will boil down to Eric running on his merits and accomplishments, and Ellen running on her merits and accomplishments. I think it's fair to say Eric has accomplished very little and Ellen has accomplished much more. Ellen wins in 2014.

    Like

  48. Eric wants to try and run against Stark again but Ellen's to smart and popular to let that happen. Eventually it will boil down to Eric running on his merits and accomplishments, and Ellen running on her merits and accomplishments. I think it's fair to say Eric has accomplished very little and Ellen has accomplished much more. Ellen wins in 2014.

    Like

  49. Since Eric has authored no significant legislation in Washington, I'll take Ellen Corbett who has authored significant legislation to help the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, etc.

    Like

  50. I think Ellen will win too but I think it will be a close race.

    I do agree when Swalwell was on the Dublin City Council he did nothing and so far in Congress also has authored no significant legislation, but has signed on to other Dems bills.

    Ellen Corbett, by contrast, has authored signifiant legislation benefitting the middle class and lower middle class, as well as the environment, women, consumers, seniors, children, education, veterans, teachers, nurses, police and fire.

    Like

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