EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Monday, December 26, 2011

If Corbett Goes 'All-In' For Congress in 2012, Everybody Else Will Follow

CONGRESS 15
Dec. 26, 2011 | In the past 20 months, Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett has "explored" running for Alameda County supervisor, had designs on Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office and visions of Rep. Pete Stark's seat in Congress in 2014.

Each time she was merely succumbing to pressure from her legion of community supporters, now she says those same people are asking for a new strategy.

San Leandro Patch reported Monday, Corbett is now "exploring" a challenge to Stark next year--two years earlier than expected.

The only other current challenger to Stark's nearly four decade reign in Washington is Democrat Eric Swalwell, a freshman councilman from Dublin.

With just over six months before the June 5 primary, Corbett's interest may be more of a reaction than bold political move. The rising fundraising prowess of Fremont's Ro Khanna over the past few months is cause for alarm for anyone interested in facing Stark anytime in the near future.

Khanna, a former deputy in the Obama Commerce Department, has also shown interest in running for Stark's seat in 2014, assuming Stark wins in 2012.

Corbett's comments will likely become the impetus for what some East Bay political observers guessed would be a scenario where one high-profile potential candidate goes "all-in" for 2012 and forces all others to follow suit.

Khanna's prodigious fundraising haul derived from Silicon Valley by way of Democratic operatives in the Indian-American community has changed the political calculus greatly, said an East Bay consultant, who chose not to be identified for fear of alienating a potential client.

Any candidate for Stark's seat is banking record low approve ratings for Congress will create a "throw the bums out" atmosphere at the ballot box. Swalwell, for one, has repeatedly used the tactic, along with Stark's age, to poke holes in his challenger's resume. Such a gambit is tricky.

Although a vast majority now loathe Congress in general, they conversely believe their own representative is not the problem.

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