ELECTION '12 | CONGRESS 15
HAYWARD | Oct. 24, 2011 | A month ago, Rep. Pete Stark's response to a rare Democratic primary challenge from youthful Dublin Councilmember Eric Swalwell was pithy and dismissive. "I think I'll beat him handily," said the 79-year-old Stark.
The person viewed as most likely to inherit the much-sought congressional seat when and if Stark chooses to retire agrees with the prognostication.
"I don't think he has a chance of winning," said Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett. "I really don't."
Corbett says she knows nothing about Swalwell other than he lacks a track record in government.
Since announcing his candidacy last month after less than a year in elected politics, Swalwell has embarked a listening tour throughout the district at community gatherings and farmers' markets.
Many believe Corbett will run for Stark's seat in 2014 whether the 19-time congressman is in the race or not. At a fundraiser for Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk's campaign for assembly, Corbett told The Citizen she does not believe voters are looking for people in Washington lacking experience. She said congress already has legislators lacking qualifications for the job, which has led to institutional gridlock.
Corbett recently filed to open a political committee for a possible run for congress in 2014. In the meantime, Swalwell is the only known challenger to Stark in the June 2012 primary. Because of the new open primary system, where members of the same party could conceivably face each other in the general election, the two could grapple again next November.