Ami Bera

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What’s It Like For a Candidate to Be in a Really, Really Tight Election?

Dan Lungren and Ami Bera are locked in a tighter than tight race. (Photos: Republican Conference and Randy Bayne via Flickr)

Democrat Ami Bera is currently up by 184 votes over incumbent Republican Dan Lungren in the District 7 House Race. And while the outcome of that particular contest is not going to determine control of Congress or anything; and while you are, also, not exactly in the habit of ascribing actual human emotions to people running for office…

If you put yourself in the place of the two candidates beyond the remembrance of their depictions in campaign ads that interrupted “Here Comes Honey Boo,” you may eventually get to a place where you realize how, for the contestants, such a close race must really suck.

Which brings to mind a post we did two years back about the 2002 election for California State Controller, when Steve Westly beat Tom McClintock by roughly 17,000 votes out of 6.5 million cast. That’s a margin of .3 percent, and it resulted in the closest California election in memory. (The 2010 Kamala Harris-Steve Cooley attorney general race was almost as close.)

Here’s Scott Shafer’s interview with Steve Westly about what it was like emotionally to get snagged on this type of nailbiting vote count, and what the candidates who do face from a logistical standpoint.

“You’ve been running with every bit of energy you have for two years nonstop and you finally get to election day and your whole psyche is based on are you going to win or not, and then you realize you’re in a close race, and you watch into the wee hours of the morning. And in my case, they literally, county by county, dismissed the vote counters at midnight or one and they still had votes to count and it was still a tie. So you’re stuck… It dragged on for I believe 21 days, and it is a little nervewracking…”

Scott Shafer interviews Steve Westly:

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Super PACs Pour On the California Cash in National Battle For House

By Tara Siler

(Brendan Smialowski/AFT/Getty Images)

(Brendan Smialowski/AFT/Getty Images)

The recent redrawing of California’s congressional districts would seem to favor Democratic candidates in this deep-blue state.

But there are still 11 competitive House seats across California, and there’s a dogfight under way for every one of them, in large part because Democrats need 25 House seats to take control of Congress from Republicans. So national political groups on both sides are dumping buckets of campaign cash into races here in hopes of maximizing gains — or limiting their losses.

One of the more hotly contested races is in the Sacramento area’s 7th Congressional District. In fact, it’s considered one of the most competitive in the country

Volunteer Judy Vonn is working the phones for Democratic candidate and physician Ami Bera, who is challenging GOP incumbent Dan Lungren for a second time. Continue reading

Sacramento-Area Race Proxy For Torrid Medicare Debate

By Sarah Varney, Kaiser Health News

Rep. Dan Lungren and Dr. Ari Bera are campaigning to represent the newly drawn 7th Congressional district in northern California. (Photos: Republican Conference and Randy Bayne via Flickr)

Rep. Dan Lungren and Dr. Ari Bera are campaigning to represent the newly drawn 7th Congressional district in northern California. (Photos: Republican Conference and Randy Bayne via Flickr)

When Republican Rep. Dan Lungren faced a crowd of Tea Party supporters and Democratic detractors at a recent town hall meeting in the town of Carmichael, outside Sacramento, the arguments showed how explosive the Medicare debate can get in the hottest races in the country.

At La Sierra Community Center, the long line of seemingly irritated constituents made clear just what is on the minds of voters here: the Republican proposal to give future beneficiaries, those currently 55 and younger, a fixed amount of money to buy Medicare coverage from the government or private insurance companies.

Standing at a podium in the auditorium, Margie Metzler, a 67-year-old woman with the group Seniors Against Lungren, told Lungren that she had been laid off at age 61 and went four years without health insurance until she qualified for Medicare. “I don’t want to kick the people under 55 under the bus,” Metzler said of Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan.

“Lungren and Bera are very effective stand-ins for the two sides of the national (Medicare) debate.”

A few moments later, another woman took to the microphone with this reprimand: “All you protesters can think about is where your next government entitlement is going to come from. Rome is burning and you’re all acting like children.”

And those were the polite exchanges.

Eastern Sacramento is where the two Californias come together — where the liberal, urban coast meets the conservative exurbs and rural farmland. Lungren has had a safe seat in Congress in large part due to the district’s Republican majority. Continue reading