The lack of exuberance in the Bay Area and nationally for Rep. Eric Swalwell’s presidential campaign has politicos in the East Bay’s 15th Congressional District apprehensive about offering campaign contributions and endorsements for any of the candidates hoping to replace him next year, believing Swalwell will ultimately end his presidential hopes before this December and run for re-election to his seat.
But California State Treasurer Fiona Ma became the first high-profile elected official to weigh-in on the race by offering her endorsement this month of Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab.
“To build a more equitable economic future for all Californians, we will need champions of economic justice in Washington, which is why I am proud to endorse Aisha Wahab for Congress,” Ma said. “Aisha Wahab is a champion for universal healthcare, affordable housing, and living wages for all. She will fight to reduce the burden that student loan debt places on our students and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”
Wahab announced her candidacy for the 15th District’s March 2020 primary within a week of Swalwell officially declaring his run for president on April 8. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski joined the race earlier this month.
Earlier this month, Wahab received the endorsement of her campaign from Livermore Councilmember Trish Munro. The announcement in itself may hold little punch, but with the likelihood the Tri-Valley is up-for-grabs in a field led by Hayward and Fremont-centric candidates like Wieckowski and Wahab, it signals an initial play for the region. The 15th District covers the Tri-Valley, along with a portion of San Ramon, Hayward, Union City, a portion of Fremont, and much of unincorporated Alameda County.
Swalwell has indicated he will not seek re-election to his seat next March. In the East Bay, few appear to believe him.
Meanwhile, Swalwell has done very little in the nearly two months since he announced his presidential campaign to dissuade the prevailing wisdom that he will appear on the March 2020 ballot not under the heading of U.S. President, but the 15th Congressional District.
National polling numbers have peaked at one percent through the end of May. In many cases, Swalwell has failed to register any support in polls that includes 22 other Democrats also holding presidential aspirations.
The uncertainty in the current 15th District field may be somewhat alleviated near the end of June and early July after Swalwell anticipates appearing in two nationally-televised presidential debates. The opportunity to participate in the high-profile events is viewed by many to be Swalwell’s best chance at breaking through the noise and clutter created by such a large field of candidates.