Eric Swalwell

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East Bay Institution Pete Stark Toppled by Novice Eric Swalwell

Undated Stark campaign button shows unseated Congressman's history. (Mpls55408: Flickr)

Undated Stark campaign button shows defeated Congressman's history. (Mpls55408: Flickr)

Twenty-term incumbent Pete Stark lost his re-election bid to Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin city councilman Eric Swalwell — who won with 53 percent of the vote.

It had been a bitterly fought campaign, with sometimes strange allegations from Stark. As KQED’s Cy Musiker reported, “Stark accused Swalwell, without evidence, of taking bribes; he was forced to apologize; and he wrongly accused newspaper columnist Debra Saunders of making political donations to Swalwell, again apologizing after.”

Stark issued a statement this morning:

It has been my honor to serve the people of the East Bay for the last 40 years. I have worked hard to deliver results: accomplishments like writing the COBRA law to make health insurance portable between jobs, bringing the first computers to schools, and crafting President Obama’s groundbreaking health care law. Continue reading

New Breed of Campaigns Using Technology to Micro-Target Voters

by Aarti Shahani

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As election day inches closer, campaign workers are entering high gear with door-knocking and phone-banking. This year, they’re also reducing paper cuts by using new digital technologies to reach voters. But the true value of the latest election apps, of course, will turn on whether they get out the vote.

East Bay congressional candidate Eric Swalwell, whose campaign is using the latest get-out-the-vote-technology

East Bay congressional candidate Eric Swalwell, whose campaign is using the latest get-out-the-vote-technology. Photo: Cy Musiker/KQED

Door Knocking Goes Digital

Ariel Kelley, a local campaign director with a group working for San Francisco supervisorial candidate David Lee, is sipping coffee at a neighborhood cafe in the city’s Richmond district. Tapping the floor with her 3-inch heels, Kelley watches her door-knocking team from a website on her MacBook.

“I get to see in real time exactly where they are, using the GPS on the cell phone that they’re holding. This is Charlie’s territory right here,” she says, referring to a volunteer out in the field.

Kelley is monitoring Charlie’s every move on Anza and Balboa. She sees the name, age and party of the targeted voter, plus the exact time – down to the microsecond – of the visit. Kelley sees the encounter is over when a green dot turns into a red check mark. Continue reading

House Vet Pete Stark in Tough Re-Election Fight; Videos: Stark on the Warpath

By Cyrus Musiker

Twenty-term incumbent Pete Stark has a well developed get-out-the-vote operation, but his opponent, Eric Swalwell, is capitalizing on Stark's reported negative attributes. (Photo: Cy Musiker)

Twenty-term incumbent Pete Stark has a well developed get-out-the-vote operation, but his opponent, Eric Swalwell, is capitalizing on Stark's reported negative attributes. (Photo: Cy Musiker)

Pete Stark has specialized in health care during much of his 40 years in Congress. He’s helped pass some of the nation’s most far-reaching laws in that area, including the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” to some); a law that says emergency rooms are required to admit patients who can’t pay; and COBRA, which lets workers and their families temporarily remain covered under an employer’s health plan even after leaving their job.

Stark says he considers himself a health care “expert.”

“But there’s lots to be done,” he adds. “I would like to work until we see that every resident of the United States has access to health care regardless of their income or health status.”

In a normal year, voters would probably have granted him yet another term to do that work. But in this election cycle, he has to fight to be re-elected because of the state’s “Top Two” primary system and newly drawn congressional districts that have changed business as usual.

“In a Democrat vs. Democrat race, there’s a very reasonable chance [Stark] could end up out of Congress.”

Stark is now running in the redrawn but mostly Democratic 15th Congressional District — a sprawl of suburban cities, stretching from Hayward to Pleasanton, to the south and east of Oakland. In June he finished ahead of his Democratic primary opponent;  had it been a traditional primary, Stark would be facing almost certain-victory over a weak Republican in November.

Continue reading