Lt. Gov. Garamendi Moves to Congressional Race

Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, September 2, 2009; 8:24 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is one step closer to the next chapter of his long political career after winning the Democratic nomination for a Northern California congressional seat.

Garamendi, 64, defeated three other well-funded Democrats in Tuesday's special election for the 10th Congressional District seat that opened earlier this year when former Rep. Ellen Tauscher was confirmed to an undersecretary position in the State Department.

He received 26 percent of the vote in the relatively low turnout election but failed to win the race outright, meaning he will face Republican Dave Harmer in a special general election on Nov. 3. Candidates from the Green, American Independent and Peace and Freedom parties also will be on the ballot.

"The public recognized that I was prepared to go to Congress to address the issues that affect this district and the state," Garamendi said in a telephone interview from his Walnut Creek campaign headquarters.

Harmer said he has no plans to adjust his campaign message, which focused on bringing fiscal responsibility to Congress. He will be challenged to overtake Garamendi in a district where Democrats hold an 18-point voter registration edge over Republicans. Independents make up 20 percent of voters.

"We don't need to change a thing about the campaign, the team or the message," said Harmer, a 47-year-old attorney who is the son of former Lt. Gov. John Harmer.

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