David Harmer Finally Quits

Right-winger David Harmer appears to have been shamed by Brian’s post yesterday – after telling reporters all week he would not concede the CA-11 race to Jerry McNerney despite the final count showing him behind, Harmer is finally conceding:

GOP Congressional candidate David Harmer has officially conceded his East Bay race to Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney.

Harmer confirmed the news Friday night in a text to The Chronicle — which we’re touched to say that Dave sent from a screening of “Tangled” he was attending with his kids. Wow. I think he just won a Chronnie for that move. Best Way/Place to Reveal a Concession.

“Called & congratulated him this afternoon,” Harmer texted The Chronicle. “Don’t intend to contest results. Will issue statement tomorrow. In movie now w/kids.”

It’s nice to see a California Republican finally admit reality for change. Harmer and his fellow Republicans believed they had a chance to take out McNerney, but couldn’t do it even in a wave election year.

Of course, as we’ve been explaining here at Calitics, the California Republican Party exempted themselves from that wave. Because of their right-wing extremism – Harmer, after all, called for the abolition of public schools – the CRP has made itself unelectable in this state. True, they will win some legislative and Congressional elections, as well as local races, from time to time, but the overall trend is against them, as Harmer has learned.

Jerry McNerney has become quite a disappointment after being propelled to victory in 2006 by a wave of progressive activism. Just this week he joined Republicans to oppose the middle-class tax cut because it did not include extensions of the cuts for the rich. To be sure, McNerney has also voted along with the rest of the Democratic caucus in support of things like health care reform and the stimulus, so he’s certainly not on the right.

But McNerney is a good example of my point that California politics is being realigned to exclude the right and instead be oriented around a battle between those on the left and those who swear fealty to a corporate agenda. Depending on how McNerney’s district looks after redistricting, he should be a prime target for a progressive challenge in 2012.

17 thoughts on “David Harmer Finally Quits”

  1. he votes for one bill that the Democrats opposed and he’s now a corporatist? Robert, we’re doing the same thing the right-wingers are doing to semi-moderates like Abel Maldonado, excluding out the moderates and appealing to the fringes. If i lived in McNerney’s district, i would be disappointed to hear he voted against the tax-cut, but note that David Harmer would be that much worse (As a Mormon, we already know his positions on social issues). Yes, eventually California will become so Democratic that Republicans are better off spending $$$ elsewhere.

    But for now, we’re not that super-liberal state and we have to acknowledge the moderates that cluster around suburban Sacramento and Los Angeles and do what we can to engage them to vote for our side. McNerney is progressive, definitely not for a Oakland or Contra Costa district, but a moderate-leaning district.

    A prime target for a progressive challenger? Tell me, did that work out well with Jane Harman in CA-36? Now she’s a Democrat i really want gone, way more conservative than McNerney and he’s in a R+1 district and shes in a D+15!! The reason why Harman won, establishment support. If Marcy Winograd had a better profile then just being a “teacher/peace activist” and having literally no cash, maybe she’d get closer but not beat Harman. Go ahead and try to challenge McNerney but who would face him? Only real challenge would be fellow Rep. Pete Stark, but the guy is an old-timer who periodically goes on Alan Grayson-like rants.

    I’m sorry Robert, i despise and loathe the immigrant-bashing, homophobic, anti-everything Right-wingers just as much as you do, but we can’t ignore the moderates until California is D enough to make moderates a non-factor. We need to make a message that the moderates can relate to, without demonizing them for being in the middle.

  2. he should be a prime target for a progressive challenge in 2012.

    I voted for him this time but won’t in 2012. His pro-war and now this. I’ll be voting green unless there’s a progressive.

  3. Nor, for that matter has Barack Obama. Progressives worked for both, and I know many people who really wanted to believe both were more progressive than they are. But they’re simply not and never have been. If people chose to delude themselves, they can hardly blame the candidates.

    I’ve known Jerry McNerney for about five years. I worked on his campaign staff in 2006. He’s a good man, and a very smart one. But he’s no liberal. And anybody who read any of the stuff I wrote about him would know that. He went to a Catholic military boarding school. He applied to and was accepted at West Point. That should tell you something right there. But to show that this isn’t a simple black-and-white issue, Jerry quit West Point because of the Vietnam war. He thought it immoral and knew he couldn’t lead troops into war there, as he would have had to do. When he graduated with his math Ph.D., he got several job offers from oil companies. He turned them down because he didn’t want to participate in destroying the planet either, and pursued a much less highly paid career in wind engineering for 30 years. But his current job title is “representative” and, as one other commenter points out, he represents a relatively conservative district. That said, he beat a serious slimebag, Richard Pombo. The country is better off with Jerry McNerney in Congress than Richard Pombo. Honestly, I would not be happy with some of the votes Jerry cast if he represented me. And I would have told him so! I would be equally unhappy with some of Jane Harmon’s votes, and would have told her so too. That’s the way our system works. We have the right to tell our representatives what votes we want (as I do with mine), express our opinion about what votes they cast (as I also do with mine), and support somebody else if we’re really dissatisfied. Political parties, of course, almost always support incumbents. So anybody who wants to do that will be up against them too. But the Tea Party did it and won a few times. Not many, and only with some serious cash behind them. But they won a few. It can be done. I just don’t think people should undertake it because a candidate didn’t turn out to be something he never claimed to be. I understand what people hoped for. But it was not anything Jerry ever represented himself as. It was just what people wanted to believe.

    Obama, on the other hand, while he was clear about believing in incremental change, did run on change. He has made some pretty clear pronouncements and promises that he has later completely caved on–or as Bob Cesca said in a scathing piece in the Huffington Post, he’s practiced “preemptive capitulation.” He has done the very things he dammed the previous administration for. And not done the things he claimed to believe in passionately. The things he has delivered on have been timid half measures that showed his incrementalism, but none of the audacity of hope he wrote about. I believe supporters do have some cause in his case to feel they did not get what they voted for.

  4. I know Jerry has changed since 2006. I’ve seen him a few times since he won, and I noticed it. I also think I know why. He called Nancy Pelosi his “new boss” and listened to her advice, and to others in the Democratic caucus with more experience than he had. I’m sure that accounts for a great deal of the change. And I also think the atmosphere in DC changes people. But I absolutely do not believe he swears “fealty to a corporate agenda,” and you’re going to offer some pretty substantial proof to convince me of that. I know him too well to believe it. Sorry. As I told you a few weeks ago, I usually agree with you. But not this time.

  5. Another division that could be arising, and I’m not sure how it will line up with Robert’s “leftist vs corporatist” division, is “East LA Democrats” vs “West Side or Hollywood Democrats.” East L A Democrats prioritize economic issues, pro-immigration, and proper respect for people and communities of color, but they tend to be culturally conservative on social issues not related to race. Hollywood Democrats, on the other hand, tend to prioritize social and cultural liberalism over economic issues. The presence of “East LA Democrats” explains why things like Prop 8 always do better than anyone expects. That’s a fight that the “corporatists” have no dog in.  

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