About 500 voters turned out for the 10th Congressional District candidate forum presented by the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley on Tuesday night at St. Mary's College. The candidates are vying in a special election Sept. 1 for the seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D., Alamo), who resigned June 26 to serve as undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security with the State Department.
The five Democratic candidates took the floor first: State Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan of Alamo; State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier from Concord; Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, a rancher from Walnut Grove; Adriel Hampton, an investigator from Dublin; and economic policy analyst and Iraq War veteran Anthony Woods of Fairfield.
Lisa Vorderbrueggen of the Contra Costa Times asked questions submitted by the audience, which included their stance on Obama's recently stated position in Mexico on immigration; the $106 billion war funds bill; Obama's Health Care Reform Bill; problems unique to District 10; energy, specifically the cap and trade bill; bringing fiscal responsibility to the country; the water crisis in the Delta; and Guantanamo prisoners.
Next came the Republicans: Christopher Bunch, a contractor from Fairfield; retired peace officer Gary Clift of Vacaville; David Harmer, an attorney who lives in Dougherty Valley; small business owner Mark Loos of Livermore; David Peterson of Walnut Creek, who owns a small business; and John Toth, a physician from Pleasant Hill.
Questions directed at them included whether they favor widening I-580, 80 and 4; would they have voted for the bailouts; how to provide clean energy, more jobs and national security; the U.S. role in Israel and the Middle East; and immigration.
Ashley Coates, president of Diablo Valley League of Women Voters, estimated the crowd at 450-500 people, with about a quarter of them leaving after the Democratic candidate presentation. Voters registered as Democrats in the 10th District outnumber Republicans by 18 percent.
Also on the ballot are office worker Mary McIlroy of El Cerrito, running as a member of the Peace and Freedom Party; Community college professor Jeremy Cloward of Pleasant Hill, with the Green Party; and Insurance agent Jerome Denham of Walnut Creek, a member of the American Independent Party. They will automatically represent their parties in the November election since they are running unopposed.
The Sept. 1 election is an open primary with all candidates running on the same ballot, which was mailed to everyone. Those getting the most votes in their party will face off in the Nov. 3 special general election unless one candidate receives 50 percent of the vote plus one.
Comcast televising 10th Congressional District Candidates Forum
Channel 28 in Walnut Creek; Channel 26 in Central CCC
* 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15
* 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21
* 4 p.m., 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22
* 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 28
* 4 p.m., 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 29
* 9 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 30