Eric Swalwell Defeats 20-Term Congressman Pete Stark

The 31-year-old politician from Dublin has beat one of the most influential Bay Area political leaders of the past 40 years.

Update 1:30 a.m.

In what was almost unthinkable a year ago, Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell appears to have defeated Rep. Pete Stark to become the congressman for the 15th Congressional District.

Swalwell had 53 percent of the vote to Stark's 47, with about 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

At about 11:50 p.m., Swalwell told his supporters he believes he is the winner of race.

A victory for the 31-year-old Swalwell ends the political career of Stark, one of the most influential Bay Area liberal political figures of the last 40 years.

"It was 11 years ago when I was an unpaid intern in Washington," Swalwell told over 100 supporters at the Deputy Sheriffs' Association of Alameda County in Pleasanton. "I worked at a gym in the morning and would give congressmen towels. At night, I worked at a restaurant and would often serve members of Congress. Now I look forward to working with them."

After taking oath in January, Swalwell will be the second youngest Democratic member of Congress. He will represent the newly drawn district, which stretches from San Ramon down to Fremont and east past Livermore.

His rise from the Dublin City Council to the U.S. House Representatives wasn't expected by many.

Most of the Democratic establishment, including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama, backed 19-term congressman Stark in the race.

But Swalwell was able to take advantage of California's new top-two primary system, where the first and second place winners in the primary — no matter the political party — compete in the general election.

With Stark being one of the most liberal members of Congress, Swalwell likely was more appealing to conservative voters in the district.

Stark, 80, was also his own worse enemy at times in the campaign. He made unfounded accusations, including accusing Swalwell of bribery in a debate during the primary campaign. He later apologized for the claim.

In the General Election, Stark declined to debate.

Speaking to supporters on Tuesday, Swalwell emphasized that he will work across the aisle and tirelessly for his new constituents.

Stark was not available for comment late Tuesday night.

Update 10:20 p.m.

It wasn't a victory speech, but Eric Swalwell Tuesday night sounded like he expects to be the congressman for the 15th Congressional District.

"It was 11 years ago when I was an unpaid intern in Washington," Swalwell told over a hundred supporters gathered in Pleasanton. "I worked at a gym in the morning and would give congressmen towels. At night, I worked at a restaurant and would often serve members of Congress. Now I look forward to working with them."

Swalwell also said the people are tired of members of Congress not working together and will go to Washington to get work done.

Stark's camp could not be reached for comment as of midnight. He reportedly did not return to the district for Election Day.

539 of 541 Precincts Reporting

15th Congressional District Votes % Pete Stark (I) 70,401
Eric Swalwell 85,223
Source: California Secretary of State Website

Update: 9:40

Eric Swalwell continues to lead Rep. Pete Stark with about half of the precients reporting.

Swalwell has 55.4 percent of the vote to Stark's 44.6 percent.

Swalwell's campaign headquarters is packed at the Deputy Sheriffs' Association of Alameda County in Pleasanton. They aren't celebrating yet, but they are hoping to soon.

Update: 8:50

With about 70,000 votes now counted, Eric Swalwell is leading with 55.5 percent of the vote.

The mood at Swalwell's campaign headquarters at the Deputy Sheriff's Association office in Pleasanton is optimistic. The candidate, a former Dublin City Councilman is mingling with the crowd and seems at least somewhat relaxed.

8:15 p.m.

No precincts are reporting, but the first votes have been counted.

Swalwell leads with 5,337 votes to 3,364 for votes for Stark.


Small Sample of San Ramon Voters Show Stark's Negative Campaign Strategy Might Have Worked

7:05 p.m.

Patch polled a handful of voters about the race between Rep. Pete Stark and Eric Swalwell for Congress, and their answers might alarm the Swalwell campaign and encourage Stark supporters.

Five random voters leaving the polling location at the San Ramon Community Center Tuesday were asked to explain their choice.

Three voters said they chose Stark; two picked Swalwell.

Claudia Medecki's reasoning for picking Stark might concern the opposition.

"I don't vote for members of the Tea Party," Medecki said.

Swalwell is a Democrat — not a Tea Party member — but the Stark campaign recently sent a mailer  to voters implying Swalwell was a closeted Tea Partier.

Another San Ramon voter, Jocelyn Maniulit, said she voted for Stark because she was more familiar with the veteran congressman.

Two voters, Srilatcha Davuluri and Marissa Clarke, said they made their determinations based on the voters' guide. Davuluri voted for Stark, Clarke went with Swalwell.

Dana Lopez also said she voted for Swalwell but was nervous about it. She heard in advertisements that Swalwell had illegally taken money from developers and might not be concerned about protecting Social Security.

"Politics does twist things around sometimes," Lopez said. "I hope that's the case here."


Voters in the 15th Congressional District have a choice between two Democrats to be their next congressman.

Though they represent the same party and are similar politically, the two men have vastly different backgrounds.

Congressman Pete Stark is the experience candidate. The liberal is the longest serving member of Congress from California, being in the U.S. House of Representative since 1973. Though he has had a turbulent campaign — with a number of blunders leading up to the primary — he also has the endorsement of President Barack Obama.

Hoping to end Stark's tenure in Congress is Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell. The 31-year-old is the change candidate. He has argued that Stark is no longer an effective congressman and that he's more in touch with local issues. Though he's a Democrat, his campaign hopes Republican voters will see him as the lesser of two evils compared to Stark.

The Real Anon November 08, 2012 at 02:56 AM
That senile old coot should have been put out to pasture 15 years ago. He is a deranged belligerent idiot. Every time I see him speak, I wonder what the hell is the matter with him; is he drunk? Alzheimers? Missed some meds?
The Real Anon November 08, 2012 at 03:02 AM
"most likely"? You have to guess? You just said that you don't know anything about him or his record in Congress, so why would you assume he did a lot of things or that any of them were good? I've seen him talk to constituents about illegal immigration, which the Democrats encourage, and it was obvious he was a traitor to the Constitution, because he refused to try to uphold the law or defend the country - both included in the oaths of office administered to members of Congress at their swearing-in ceremonies! Meanwhile, here in his home state, taxpayers are being ripped off and forced to spend $21B a year to provide services to illegals. Stark refused to do a damn thing to prevent that, and lashed out at taxpayers instead, accusing them of being "tea partiers", and racists! Moderator: please delete my previous comment - it posted while I was still typing and was incomplete...so it is a duplicate. Thanks!
The Real Anon November 08, 2012 at 03:07 AM
What this highlights is the fact that our political system is stupid. Trying to elect people to represent us is stupid and futile. Our system is often referred to as "representative democracy" but it is neither representative, nor democratic. Think about it: how can anyone possibly "represent" you unless you select them yourselves and they accept a fiduciary duty which you lay upon them as a charge, like a contract? They can't! And it silly to think that if business managers, attorneys, and executors can't manage to fulfill their obligations to the sole or handful of clients they have, that politicians can somehow represent the interests of tens or hundreds of thousands or millions of people! The problem is that as a country, we collectively suffer from the delusion that we can do the above, even though it is impossible and clearly dysfunctional. This accompanies the other delusion, a fervent belief in the idea that government somehow becomes magically possessed of powers that individuals don't themselves have. How can you "transfer" or "delegate" a power to do something, unless you yourself possess that power?
Roger V. Tranfaglia November 08, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Sorry if I insulted everybody's intelligence. I started voting in the Tri-Valley in 2006. Before then I lived in the South Bay. Now if the former Congress man has been in office for the past 40 years......hey.! I did not hear or read about him till earlier this year.
Jack O. November 08, 2012 at 06:02 PM
For the last 20 years, Stark did good things for Stark and no one else. I challenge you to provide and example of one good thing for his District. Also, if you've ever met the man or heard him speak, you would probably ask what many have asked, "who let this lunatic out. He is an embarrassment." Even the leader of the California Congressional Caucus agrees that Stark was an embarrassment. I hope that when you get to be 80, you are NOT like Stark and that you can enjoy your years with a sound mind and body. Stark had neither.


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