Bryan Parker and Rep. Eric Swalwell

One of the interesting side stories to the Alameda County supervisors race is not just Rep. Eric Swalwell’s surprising endorsement last April of Bryan Parker, the challenger hoping to unseat Supervisor Nate Miley, but the amount of follow-through the congressman is putting in to back his decision.

A congressman simply offering the endorsement, in most cases, is usually more than sufficient. But in this race, Swalwell is placing considerable political capital on the line. It’s a high-risk, high-reward gamble that could mean the difference for Parker in the race’s battlegrounds in Pleasanton and Castro Valley, where Swalwell is popular.

He has also done more for Parker’s election campaign than most members of congressmembers would normally offer..

After making the endorsement in late April, Swalwell canvassed neighborhoods for Parker and a mailer was sent to voters prominently featuring the Swalwell endorsement.

Swalwell has also used social media to trumpet Parker’s candidacy are on a regular basis. Just today, Swalwell posted a graphic of Parker along with a short statement of his support.

One reason Swalwell may be sidling up to Parker’s upstart bid for Alameda County supervisor is because it mirrors his upstream run against Pete Stark four years ago. Both Stark and Miley are entrenched politicians, strongly supported by the local Democratic machine. Hence, virtually no credible challenger had dared run against either, until Swalwell in 2012 and Parker this year.

Swalwell with Parker volunteers in April.

But, politically, Swalwell also needs to build up his own aura of authority within the local landscape. It’s a role that has so far eluded him. Labor is wary of Swalwell, as are progressives. In the Tri Valley, murmurs of discontent from conservatives towards Swalwell’s voting record are beginning to be heard.

And when it comes to political endorsements, Swalwell’s name has not proven to be helpful for those who receive it. Perhaps the worst political decision Swalwell ever made was the endorsement two years ago of Castro Valley businessman and strong Miley supporter Marc Crawford for the Castro Valley Sanitary District,

It’s hard imagine a sitting congressmember anywhere else in the country whose endorsement would be unable to win someone a sit on a sanitary board, but Crawford finished last out of five candidates.

For Swalwell, a win for Parker would go far to change those perceptions. Parker worked hard, but if he pulls it out Tuesday night, he did it with Swalwell’s help.