Swalwell kicks off presidential campaign in Dublin

Nearly a week after announcing his long-shot bid for president last week on late-night television, Rep. Eric Swalwell returned to his hometown of Dublin to kick off his campaign.

On a bright and sunny day in the Tri-Valley, more 1,000 supporters attended the rally at Swalwell’s alma mater, Dublin High School.

“Today I have come home to Dublin to tell you a story about America,” said Swalwell. “It’s my story, but your story, too. It’s a story that belongs to all of us. It’s a story about going big, being bold, and doing good.”

Swalwell, a former prosecutor, was introduced by his former boss, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, and Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallegos. Swalwell announced Gallegos will serve as his campaign chair.

During the address, Swalwell pledged to be a “different kind of candidate.” He told supporters. “I’ve got you and together we can do this.”

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His campaign will not accept contributions from corporate political action committees and will not run a campaign that is poll-driven, he said.

Swalwell said he would support zero-interest federal loans to allow graduates to have “more money in more pockets to realize more dreams.”

But Swalwell’s most provocative stance, perhaps for some, is to institute a large-scale federal buyback program to remove assault weapons off the streets.

“When I’m president, no American will be able to own the kind of guns that only belong on battlefields,” said Swalwell. He also supports a requirement for individuals to undergo a violent history check before purchasing a gun.

The early rollout of Swalwell’s campaign was, indeed, big and bold, if not good. His announcement April 8 on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, was one of the most high-profile of any Democratic presidential candidate yet.

But by the end of the week, the campaign was pushing a bottom of the barrel $1 fundraising strategy in order for Swalwell to build up the requisite 65,000 individual donations needed to participate in this summer’s debates.

Nagging questions about Swalwell’s intentions for running also resurfaced and whether he would maintain the campaign through the year.

Swalwell left open the possibility that he could still run for his seat in Congress next March, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that the deadline to run for his seat is in December.

The comments came a day after Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab announced she is running for Swalwell open seat in the 15th District. Wahab was one of two who last November became the first Afghan American elected officials in U.S. history. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski is also likely to run for the seat.

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