Rep. Eric Swalwell scored one of the first talking points of Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate when he used Joe Biden’s words against him, quoting a young Biden demanding Democrats to “pass the torch.”
“I’m still holding onto that torch,” Biden weakly responded, in what would ultimately be a bad night for the former vice president and current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
But while Swalwell has one foot in the presidential ring and the other for a potential return for re-election to his congressional district, his potential successor or, perhaps, challenger, is already co-opting his words.
Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab, currently the only major candidate in the race for Swalwell’s — at the moment — open congressional seat, sent a campaign email Friday morning demanding access to same torch for her generation. Although Swalwell, 38, is young. Wahab, at 31, is even younger.
“Last night’s debate demonstrated that there is a real demand in this country for new leadership. That’s why Aisha is ready to carry the torch for the working people, families, and seniors in CA-15!” said the fundraising email seeking to bolster campaign contributions before the June 30 mid-year filing deadline.
“We know Aisha will challenge the status quo to make housing more affordable, healthcare universal, and student loan debt a thing of the past. But Aisha doesn’t come from wealth and is rejecting support from Corporate PACs, so we are relying on everyday people like you to chip in to our grassroots campaign.”
The email which features a flaming torch and the phrase, “Help Aisha grab the torch,” never mentions Swalwell, but hints at the unique political landscape in the 15th District.
Uncertainty over Swalwell’s future has atrophied the race from fully developing by limiting endorsements and campaign contributions for potential candidates.
Earlier this month, state Sen. Bob Wieckowski dropped out of the race and later announced a candidacy with more secure electoral prospects for an open Alameda County Board of Supervisors seat.
Wahab, though, has not hinted whether she would drop out of the congressional race if Swalwell, indeed, returns for re-election.
Wahab’s campaign generated buzz last week after announcing the endorsement of 15th District Assemblymember Buffy Wicks for her congressional campaign. This week, Wahab added endorsements from BART Board Director Lateefah Simon, a favorite of East Bay progressives, and Dublin Councilmember Shawn Kumagai.