FAIRFIELD — Rep. John Garamendi’s interest in running to represent another district shows he’s worried about winning re-election here and exposes his limited interest in residents of the 3rd Congressional District, challenger Dan Logue says.
“I don’t think his heart is here,” said Logue, R-Loma Rica, a state Assemblyman. “He’s basically a Bay Area liberal legislator.”
“His record, and the record of the people of the 3rd District, are quite different,” Logue said.
The state assemblyman described Garamendi’s position as, “I want to be in Congress – but I don’t know if I want to represent you.”
Logue said he believes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, to remain in the 3rd District after he expressed interest in the 11th Congressional District seat that George Miller, D-Martinez, is vacating by retirement. The 11th District includes northwestern and central Contra Costa County in the East Bay and the cities of Richmond, Walnut Creek and Concord.
Garamendi said he never spoke with Pelosi or her staff. He said former constituents, from the since-redrawn 10th Congressional District that included much of Contra Costa County and which Garamendi had represented in Congress, called Monday to say, “come home.” After working Tuesday on 3rd Congressional District issues, Garamendi said he decided against running for the seat Miller will vacate.
“I realized I love this district,” the congressman said. “My heart is in this district. My work is in this district.”
He has lived in this district since 1977, added Garamendi, who spoke about the area including two of the most important Air Force bases in the country.
The 3rd Congressional District includes parts of Solano, Yolo, Sutter, Yuba and Colusa counties.
Logue contends that Garamendi’s support for the Affordable Care Act will be the congressman’s political undoing.
Garamendi said that the Affordable Care Act is working well in California, reducing the cost of medical services and providing millions of people with health insurance. The federal exchange for health care is different, he said.
“As with every new program there are start-up problems,” the congressman said.
David McCuan, a professor at Sonoma State University who teaches American politics, said Garamendi’s interest in another congressional district was brief.
“He had to backpedal very quickly,” McCuan said. “He didn’t want to make it a campaign issue.”
Still, McCuan said, Garamendi has strong name recognition and campaign fundraising ability. To defeat him, a Republican challenger has to have national money to fund a successful campaign, McCuan said.
Solano County, the professor added, remains central to success.
“That’s where the district is delivered,” McCuan said.
Logue said he’ll have financial help from the national Republican Party.
The state assemblyman spoke about his lifetime in communities that are part of the 3rd Congressional District.
“No one knows the district as well as I do,” Logue said.
In a press release Friday, Logue welcomed Garamendi back to the campaign and questioned the congressman’s consideration of another district.