FAIRFIELD — At 8 a.m., he was the keynote speaker for a Hilton Garden Inn event at the Solano Town Center mall. Then Rep. John Garamendi met with residents at a noon-to-2 p.m. open house across from the County Government Center in Fairfield. Later that Wednesday, the congressional representative talked to Fairfield High School students.
It would be about a 17-hour day, he said, the same as Tuesday.
“I love my work,” said Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove.
“The days are long,” he said, “but the issues are very important.”
Rod Ferroggiaro, a Solano County Republican Central Committee member, says Garamendi does put in a full day.
“He works hard at what he does,” Ferroggiaro said of the Democratic congressman who represents the 3rd Congressional District that includes Fairfield, Suisun City and Vacaville.
But Garamendi’s long hours reflect that the district he represents isn’t safely in the Democratic camp, Ferroggiaro said, and that Republican challenger Dan Logue can win the seat.
“That’s what drives him,” Ferroggiaro said. “It’s not like San Francisco,” he said about the city where Democrats dominate politics. “I think he’s going to be working harder than he ever has,” Ferroggiaro said of Garamendi’s run for re-election in Solano and other counties in the congressional district.
Moreover, Solano County will be the political battleground in the June 3 primary and Nov. 4 election that follows, the GOP official said.
State Assemblyman Logue, R-Loma Rica, agrees and cites the 2006 election when Garamendi ran for lieutenant governor against Republican Tom McClintock. Garamendi trailed the GOP candidate in the counties that now make up the 3rd Congressional District while going on to win statewide, Logue said.
The 2012 election when Garamendi won the congressional seat reflects the benefit the Democrat received from President Barack Obama’s big re-election win in California, Logue said.
As for Garamendi’s long days, Logue said: “I do the same thing in Sacramento.”
The Republican said his campaign to unseat Garamendi won’t be personal but instead about the different ideas the two men hold.
Logue said he grows the economy, while Garamendi grows the government.
Monica Brown, vice chairwoman of the Solano County Democratic Central Committee, said Garamendi displayed the same devotion to work when he was lieutenant governor and state insurance commissioner.
“That’s John all the time,” Brown said. “A 17-hour day is not anything new.”
“He always does his homework,” she said. “You’re talking to somebody who understands agriculture, who understands the military.”
Garamendi, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley where he played football, began his political career in 1974 as a state assemblyman. After 40 years, he’s not looking for a quiet golf course and a comfortable retirement.
“I never had time for golf,” he said.
The issues of defense, the drought and national security are demanding but compelling, the congressman said.
“I wouldn’t trade it for a golf course,” he said of his work.
Yes, the congressman said, he does make it to a lot of events.
“If they think that’s good politics,” he said of Republicans, “they’re right.”
GOP official Ferroggiaro hopes that the Democratic congressman has to end his political career after a Logue victory.
“He’s got some negatives,” Ferroggiaro said of Garamendi, citing the congressman’s voting record that he said matches Democrat Nancy Pelosi, D-San San Francisco.
Moreover, politics is a volatile world where “a week is a year” and what seems certain can be undone in a second.
Still, the Republican Central Committee member said the incumbent Democrat is a formidable foe.
“You don’t every underestimate John Garamendi,” Ferroggiaro said. “He’s very politically savvy.”
Garamendi said re-election, not retirement, is his goal.
“I’ll die in the saddle,” he said of sticking with politics and public service.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]