Big Shot Swalwell gets his Own Office while Democrats Sit on Folding Chairs

Honda Wins Landslide Endorsement | The Coming Abyss in SD10 | Hayashi Admits Only One Negative | Immigrant Story Impresses in AD15
CHAPTER 1 | Rep. Mike Honda was dropped off and walked by his lonesome into the Laborers Union Hall in Hayward. Inside he kibitzed with other Alameda County Democrats while sitting on cold, steel folding chair. So did, Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett. Her gaze from the pre-endorsement speeches momentarily pulled away by a young boy noisily playing on the floor with a plastic toy car. Candidates for a host of other local state and congressional races attended the meeting without much more than a speech and a prayer. Rep. Eric Swalwell, however, struck a much different pose. He brought an entourage, including a staffer who videotaped Corbett’s speech (a questionable tactic, itself), but there was more to Swalwell’s Saturday afternoon. While his colleagues made do with the spartan, no-nonsense meeting, Swalwell had VIP accommodations.

Eric Swalwell

In fact, he didn’t even enter through the side door to the hall like everyone else, but was led through the back door. Once inside, Swalwell and his team settled into the union’s office presumably for him to gather his thoughts and for the campaign team to commiserate. A member of the union who facilitated the event for the local Democratic Party confirmed Swalwell was holed up in the back and that, yes, the union has endorsed his candidacy this year.

By the time his congressional race was up for consideration, Team Swalwell shuffled into the small hall. He spoke first and then watched sullenly and quite nervously as Corbett made her case for the endorsement. Swalwell stood rigidly, arms folded with his right index finger pressed to his lips. The pose looked strikingly like a lawyer straining to find any weakness in his opponent’s legal argument. When Corbett concluded with her two-minute statement, Team Swalwell ushered themselves back to the office as the public vote was announced and tallied. They returned when the final numbers found he had won a majority of the vote, but less than the 70 percent needed Saturday for the pre-endorsement. That will have to wait until the convention in March.

It’s quite apparent that Swalwell possesses an inherent desire to be famous. He’s pulled a number of publicity stunts in hopes of attracting the national media. Many of them have been detailed here, but now it appears Swalwell is morphing into something more malevolent, a dangerous amalgam of youthful cockiness and vanity. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t believe reporters should hold him accountable for his actions?

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Mike Honda

LANDSLIDE ENDORSEMENT Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign team and party supporters packed the Laborers Union Hall last Saturday. It appeared every other person had a light blue and green Honda for Congress sticker affixed to their shirt. Obviously, it was the campaign’s plan to shock-and-awe Alameda County Democrats. Honda won 122 of 133 votes and the results should solidifying a perception their man is the undisputed choice of the party. After the vote, the team was absolutely ebullient as the apparent rout was clear. Ro Khanna did not show up to address the party faithful, which is not entirely a surprise. However, it was surprising the campaign didn’t even bother to send anyone to speak, even as just a small gesture. Conversely, Khanna losing the endorsement does not run counter to any argument they have made thus far, which is he represents the future of Silicon Valley, not necessarily the future of the Democratic Party apparatus.

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Bob Wieckowski

I HEART HAYWARD Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, who is running for the State Senate 10th District seat, sported an “I (Heart) Hayward” t-shirt last Saturday. Does he also have similar tops showing affection for Castro Valley, Union City, Fremont, San Jose, Fremont, etc, because he’s going to need it. This is a huge district and huge physical boundaries are quite costly. Mary Hayashi’s $734,000 in campaign donations may be her greatest single asset in such a race. On Saturday, Hayashi told The Citizen she plans on raising even more money this year. Campaign finance reports, however, showed she only raised over $18,000 in 2013. In addition, it appears Hayashi will be much more aggressive in attacking Wieckowski than she was in her 2012 Alameda County supervisors race. Readers of The Citizen know the story and gossip that revolved last year around Wieckowski’s office, which included his former chief of staff. For that reason, it was quite telling Saturday that while chatting with Hayashi outside, standing in the distance was Trisha Tahmasbi, the former Wieckowski aide, who some in Fremont’s Indo American community charged with alienating some of her boss’s supporters. In just these last few sentences, you can almost foresee the abyss voters will be led down during this race.

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Sam Kang

HERE AND THERE The race in Berkeley’s 15th Assembly District is a large one and potentially a close contest among four candidates. On Saturday, the party gave no endorsement, but Elizabeth Echols garnered a majority of the vote. The question now goes to the convention next month. However, she looked nervous and unremarkable during her short speech last weekend. Tony Thurmond, though, is a charismatic little firecracker of a public speaker, but I was most impressed with Sam Kang, an attorney, who according to campaign finance reports, attracted impressive fundraising totals last year. His speech was heartfelt and well-conceived. However, a candidate proffering an All-American immigrant story is always uplifting…Last week, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said, the more the merrier, when it comes to the growing field in her mayoral race. With ranked choice voting, she believes the additional candidates will scatter support for the rest of the field’s real contenders….Assemblymember Bill Quirk said Saturday he will welcome all challengers and will attend every scheduled candidate’s forum. He is facing Republican Jaime Patino in the 20th Assembly District, but a familiar face is eyeing a rematch from 2012. It’s not Jennifer Ong, who lost by just 900 votes two years ago, but Hayward school district Trustee Luis Reynoso, who ran in the June primary the same year. He told The Citizen he will run as an independent this time around.

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ONE MORE THING Read Mary Hayashi’s quote from last Saturday one more time. “You all know my positives,” said Hayashi. “You also know my negative, which I am very sorry.” There was no typo there. Isn’t it amazing what the omission of a single letter does to the last half of the statement? She said, “negative,” as in singular, not plural. Hayashi has only one negative, she believes. This is true, at least, in terms of severity. However, it is simply fascinating how many of these Alameda County Democrats are simply unwilling to let it go. It’s no longer about the shoplifting incident, it’s about much more and we’ll examine this later. In the meantime, a counseling appointment needs to be scheduled for all.

**The Campaign Insider column appears every Friday from now to the end of the 2014 election cycle in November.

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