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CA-02: Jim Reed Asks: Is Alzheimer’s Why Herger Won’t Debate?

Alzheimers.  It’s a scary word, and when it was spoken tonight it caused an audible gasp to ripple through the crowd at the Candidate’s Forum, sponsored by the Chico Enterprise Record and The League of Women Voters.

Representative Wally Herger’s sudden and unexplained decision to skip the debate prompted even the Chico ER to editorialize against him, accusing him of “Campaigning From the Couch.” Wednesday night, after Herger’s representative read a few paragraphs of standard Republican talking points to a silent crowd, Jim Reed voiced his own suspicions about why Herger has been ducking him when he has willingly debated opponents in the past.  

The Enterprise-Record:

Our view: When politicians don’t have to debate before an election, it’s not good for democracy.

Jim Reed will drive three hours from his home in Fall River Mills to speak at a candidates forum tonight in Chico. Wally Herger, the other candidate, won’t drive across town to do so.

The ER posited that Herger doesn’t have to debate because, well, he doesn’t have to debate.  He’s ahead in the polls.  His district leans Republican.  He’s held on to his seat for 24 years against opponents both serious and silly. He’s loaded with cash. Why take a political risk?  

But while it has become fashionable for Republican candidates to speak exclusively with Fox-friendly media, Herger has even spurned a debate proposed by his own natural allies. Jim Reed, a moderate Democrat who hasn’t hesitated to meet with any of the north state’s constituents, has spoken at Tea Party events, spurring the Shasta Tea Party to offer to host their own debate in hopes of luring Herger out. No dice.  

Unfortunately, Herger’s refusals to come out in the open have only fueled long-term speculation and rumors about his mental fitness to be re-elected. Reed had already suggested in an interview with Progressive News Radio that Alzheimer’s might be behind Herger’s suddenly reclusive ways, and in tonight’s forum he similarly didn’t pull any punches:

transcript: (emphasis mine)

So I’m Jim Reed.  I really wish that Wally was here tonight. I’m disappointed, not so much because you’re not going to be able to see the contrast between our political issues because you can go to our website and you’ll see what our views are on the political issues. You pretty much know that Wally Herger’s pretty much out there on the right wing; I’m pretty much in the middle as a moderate Democrat. But what we miss by not having Wally Herger here is to see the personal.  And a lot of you say, Well, he’s been in office for 24 years, we know what Wally Herger’s like.  But has he grown old and tired?  Or, does he have the fire in the belly?  That’s what we need to know.


Let me end by saying this. We have a debate, Wally Herger and I have a debate scheduled for October 25th, to be televised on KIXE. I am absolutely convinced that wouldn’t have happened but for a newspaper article that came out from a Chico paper last week that identified some unusual behavior and suggested that maybe he’s not willing to debate Reed because he has an illness, perhaps  Alzheimer’s.  The next day, we had a debate [scheduled].  Now that was the right thing for Wally to do because the easiest way to just get rid of a rumor like that, a terrible rumor, and that’s a terrible disease, is to debate.  But the problem with choosing October 25th for that debate is, it should have been today.  If on October 25th he finds an excuse why he can’t be there, he gets called back to Washington, there’s just not enough time to reschedule it. So, and it even suggests that maybe this is a ploy that he never intended to debate at all if he doesn’t show up on October 25th. So anyway, let’s stay tuned, I truly hope he will.  I’m Jim Reed running for Congress. I ask for your vote. Thank you.

Stay tuned, indeed.

CA-02: Cocky, or Cowardly? Why Won’t Wally Debate? ACTION!

Where's Wally John's

Where’s Wally, and why won’t he debate his opponent?

What can you do with a candidate who refuses to commit to a debate? Such is the case with 24 year incumbent Wally Herger.  First he refused to debate his primary opponent, Tea Party favorite Pete Stiglich.  Now he refuses to commit to a debate with his Democratic opponent, Jim Reed.  Why?

Is Herger so cocky about winning yet another term that he can’t be bothered with a debate?  Is he too cowardly to debate his trial lawyer opponent?  You make the call.

Literally make the call.  Help us Contact Wally Herger and demand a debate before it’s too late.  Ask Wally why he won’t debate Jim Reed on October 6th.

Herger has refused to debate Jim Reed four times.  He refused to debate twice in August when he was on recess from Congress.  He refused to debate in September when he was on recess. When Herger’s spokesperson vaguely promised a debate in October, Jim Reed and the Chico League of Women Voters quickly set up a debate venue for October 6th, well before absentee ballots would be returned….but again, Wally refused.

Even Herger’s primary opponent, Tea Party favorite Pete Stiglich, is growing annoyed with Herger’s stalling tactics.  Stiglich’s campaign also tried mightily to wrest a debate from Herger’s campaign .  Herger strung him along until the last minute, and then conveniently fell back on the rationale that he would not debate fellow Republicans.  

Said Stiglich in a recent editorial supporting the Democrat’s repeated calls for debates:

I realize I run the risk of being accused of jumping onto the Reed bandwagon by supporting his call for debates. Trust me, nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, I’ve jumped upon the growing bandwagon of everyday folks demanding accountability, honesty and a healthy command of the facts from all those who seek or hold elected office.

Candidates should welcome the opportunity to engage in rigorous political debate. In fact, they should pursue it. What better opportunity to showcase one’s command of the facts and leadership on the many critical issues facing America today?

Dare I say, let the debates begin.

Now there’s a Tea Partier I can whole-heartedly agree with.

What last-minute excuse will Herger have for refusing to debate Jim Reed?

And, more importantly, how can we, the voters, make Herger accountable?

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You may think this doesn’t matter to you if you don’t live in California’s Second District, but this election does affect you.


Because Herger believes he will be the next Chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee if he is elected.  

Because Herger has circulated a petition in the House of Representatives to Repeal and Replace Health Care Reform, even though doing so would add $455 billion dollars to the deficit, according to a letter by Mike Crapo of the Congressional Budget Office.

Contact Wally Herger and demand a debate before it’s too late!

Debate Jim Reed on October 6th.

email: [email protected]

Washington D.C. office:  (202) 225-3076  fax: (202) 226-0852  

Chico, CA Office:        (530) 893-8363  fax: (530) 893-8619

Redding,CA Office:       (530) 223-5898 fax: (530) 223-5897


Jim Reed, the Democratic Candidate for Congress in CA-02, needs your help.  Jim has been flying his Cessna all over the large and diverse Second District, showing he’s willing to engageall voters in the district. He’s ready for a rousing debate– don’t let Wally weasel his way out of it!

Call Herger’s office, or make a donation to Jim Reed’s campaign now!

Jim Reed has been endorsed by Ruby’s List: A Rogue Network of Progressive Organizers.

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Worst. Congressperson. In. The. World.

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I really do have the worst congressperson in the world  (he was, after all, the guy who god-blessed a self-proclaimed “proud right-wing terrorist” as a “great American”), and I will prove it to you below the jump.  But first, let me show you the type of people who have been electing my congresscritter to office for the past 24 years.

That’s the main thoroughfare in my little mountain town, and that’s the mentality I get to live with.

But just wait until you hear the latest from my congressguy.

Unbelievable. But not unprecedented.

Just last December, Wally Herger, CA-02, introduced one of his go-nowhere bills that was supposed to ease the pain of homeowner’s insurance rates going up as a result of FEMA redrawing the floodplain maps. This affects a great many people along the Sacramento River in northern California’s Second District.

I say it was a go-nowhere bill because Herger is famous for his grandstanding political ploys that do nothing for his district. This is how worthless Herger is: His last successsful bill, the Quincy (another small mountain town) Library Act, was 12 years ago. This means that during the eight years of the Bush administration, back when deficits didn’t matter, Herger got absolutely nothing helpful done for his district.  Zip, zero, nada.

As always, Herger’s bill went nowhere, as it was introduced purely for show.

Last week the House passed HR 5114, a flood relief bill that would ease the pain of homeowner’s insurance rates going up as a result of FEMA redrawing the floodplain maps.


Because it was introduced by a Democrat.  And Herger votes with the Republican party 96 % of the time.  Pretty much the only time he doesn’t vote with the Republicans is when he accidentally hits the wrong voting button. That’s right– Herger voted against his own constituents and against the same concept he himself proposed only 7 months earlier because he’s the rubber stamp of the Party of No.

Nice work if you can get it, never having to think for yourself.  At this point I don’t think Wally is even capable of thinking for himself.

Here’s another recent gem from WallyWorld:  Herger is now circulating a petition in the House to “Repeal and Replace” Health Care Reform because, you know, the “American people” don’t want it.  This despite a recent Bloomberg Poll showing that 61% of the selfsame American people have no interest in repealing Health Care Reform.  Mostly, they want to see how it turns out.

Wally knows darned well his little petition doesn’t have a chance of getting through the House, much less getting past a Presidential veto, but this is how he operates in Washington. He’ll do anything to politically boost his party, and he’ll vote against his own constituents if the Republican party tells him to.

This is a guy who is now a born-again believer in deficit reduction.  But it doesn’t matter to him that tossing out Health Care Reform would add $138 billion to the deficit (courtesy of Rachel Maddow). But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of your ideology, Wally!

Want more?  How about this:  89 days into the Deepwater Drilling Disaster, Herger still supports deepwater drilling and still has a statement on his website claiming that:

I’ve long supported efforts to allow for the exploration of oil and natural gas in a small section of the frozen “ANWR” tundra in Alaska.  ANWR spans nearly 20 million acres, but energy exploration would only occur on 2,000 acres, or .01 percent of the land area.  And importantly, 21st Century technology would also allow us to recover energy resources without harming the environment.

(emphasis mine)

I don’t know what 21st Century Wally’s living in, but in my reality-based world deep water drilling is demonstrably unsafe, and the technology for dealing with spills is decades old.

Look, I don’t like to complain just for the sake of complaining.  I’m a solutions-oriented person.  And my solution to having a lazy rubber-stamp of a Congressman is to get the word out that Wally Herger has a serious opponent this election cycle.  I’m not talking about the kind of place-holder candidate the Democratic party occasionally throws out there against Herger.

I’m talking about Jim Reed.

There’s a sort of resigned meme in the Second District that Wally’s in office until he dies or decides to retire. That no one can beat him.  That it’s such a red district no Democrat has a chance against him. But that’s not true.  The district is changing– there’s now only 45% registered Republicans.  Reed, a moderate Democrat with Republican supporters who are fed up with Wally,  is running an aggressive and focused campaign.  I was recently at a Reed strategy meeting where an impressed supporter who has worked to unseat Herger numerous times exclaimed, “This campaign is 200% more energetic and organized than anything I’ve ever seen against Herger!”

So, do us all a favor.

Help us retire the Worst Congressperson in the World.

The world will be a better place for it.

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Repeal & Replace HCR? Retire & Replace HERGER!

Wally Herger, CA-02 (the public praiser of a self-proclaimed “Proud right-wing terrorist”) is introducing a petition in the House to repeal and replace Health Care Reform because “the American people” don’t want it.  Polls disagree.

Twenty four years of Wally’s World is enough.  Peek below the fold to see how you can help retire this 24 year incumbent and replace him with Jim Reed.

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Don’t Republicans Have Something Better to Do?

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia plan to announce Wednesday that they’ll support two discharge petitions – one from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to repeal a portion of the law and a forthcoming petition from Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) to repeal the entire law – and encourage other Republicans to follow suit.

Herger’s petition is the more radical of the two:

Rep. Herger’s forthcoming discharge petition would force a vote on his bill, which would repeal all of ObamaCare, including the provisions enacted through the reconciliation process, and replace it with the common-sense solutions Republicans have put forth.

This move on the part of Reps. Boehner and Cantor seems cynically calculated, since no one expects repeal to succeed now, and only serves to keep the health care issue on the front burner for upcoming midterm elections.

Are Republicans actually serious about taking away popular existing benefits and lowering the deficit?

Democrats have argued that Republicans want to rescind benefits that have already reached the public, such as the ability to keep kids up to 26 years old on their parents’ health plans and $250 checks to seniors in the Medicare “doughnut hole.”

“Have they thought about what it would mean for the American people?,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), assistant to the speaker. “[R]epeal would cause the deficit – which GOP leaders claim to be so concerned about – to skyrocket. Repealing health care reform would be a big win for special interests, but it would be bad news for working families and the future of our country.”

It’s not surprising they would choose Wally, since Herger votes the straight Republican party line 96% of the time (including the occasional mistake). Perhaps they should come right out and say what they really mean– that “the Republican people” don’t want Health Care Reform. It’s nothing but bad news for the “Party of No” if Obama and the Democrats succeed in actually helping the middle-class.

Wally Herger is out of touch with the needs of his district. Herger still maintains that with our superior 21st Century technology we can deep-water drill-baby-drill with no harm to the environment. Herger hasn’t felt the sting of the recession like his constituents, since his wealth puts him in the Top 10% wealthiest Congresspeople , while his constituents average $22,876. According to Jim Reed,

He has placed the Republican Party above the people of his District.  He has gotten lazy and has failed to aggressively seek Federal spending in his District. There are 10 Counties in the District but more than 1/2 the voters are in either Butte or Shasta Counties. Pathetically, these two counties get less than 60% of the national average in federal spending for rural counties across the country; this amounts to $3 Billion below the national average per year.

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California’s beautiful second district deserves better.  Here’s how you can help.

Jim Reed’s campaign has attracted the notice of a highly-placed Washington D.C. political consultant who appreciates insurgent campaigns against incumbents.  He likes what he sees here and is willing to take on Reed’s campaign if the following goal is met:

Our goal is to raise $150,000 in both small and large donations during the month of July.  If we meet this goal we will have the services of this Washington D.C. political consultant for a minimal fee.

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July is the month to give Jim Reed the greatest leverage against Wally Herger.  Making a contribution now in the month of July is making a down-payment on the future of California’s Second district, on retiring Wally Herger, and on adding a Democratic seat to the house. Any donation, no matter how small, will help.

Help us Retire and Replace Wally Herger.  24 years is enough!

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CA-02: WHERE’S WALLY on deep-water drilling NOW?


Wally Herger, CA-02, just prevailed in his primary against a teabagger, but will he survive this fall against Democratic candidate Jim Reed, who is far more in touch with the beliefs of his California constituents when it comes to drilling and environmental issues?

You might think a Republican would reconsider the safety of deep water drilling after the endless eruption of the oil volcano in the Gulf.

You would be wrong.  Herger still maintains that with our superior 21st Century technology we can drill-baby-drill with no harm to the environment.

Those of us in the reality-based community, including Jim Reed, see it differently.

(But wait!  There’s more…..)

From Herger’s Website: (emphasis mine)

I’ve long supported efforts to allow for the exploration of oil and natural gas in a small section of the frozen “ANWR” tundra in Alaska.  ANWR spans nearly 20 million acres, but energy exploration would only occur on 2,000 acres, or .01 percent of the land area.  And importantly, 21st Century technology would also allow us to recover energy resources without harming the environment.

Wondering If Herger might have updated his files on that amazing 21st Century technology keeping us safe story, I spoke with Herger’s Chico office where his representative got back to me and confirmed that yes, Herger IS still in favor of deep water drilling.

At least he’s consistent. Why bother to re-think a position in the face of compelling new evidence when it’s so much easier to just rubber-stamp your party line, even when failing to think for yourself can cause irreparable harm to your own constituents?

While Herger gives pleasant lip-service to alternative and clean energies on his website, his voting record shows where his heart truly is– with the oil companies. Votes on energy:

Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation.(May 2008)

Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)

Voted NO on investing in homegrown bio-fuel. (Aug 2007)

Voted YES on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC. (May 2007)

Voted NO on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jan 2007)

Voted NO on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)

Voted YES on scheduling permitting for new oil refineries. (Jun 2006)

Voted YES on authorizing construction of new oil refineries. (Oct 2005)

Jim Reed in the Comments section of his introductory diary at Daily Kos stated:

I am against any expansion of off shore drilling and the gulf accident just proves there will be human error with disaster to follow.

Cheers to Jim Reed be his willingness to dive into a notoriously thorny political site like the Daily Kos and to stick around to answer all questions for the next two hours.  Check out Reed’s diary for an impressive example of an intelligent, decent, open-minded approach to differences of opinion.

Where's Wally John's Why “Where’s Wally”?

In this 30 minute interview with Jim Swanson of Progressive News Radio Jim Reed makes a convincing case for how Wally Herger has become an increasingly lazy and ineffective legislator.  In 24 years in office Herger has only sponsored one piece of legislation where teamed up with Diana Feinstein.  He’s voted with the Republican party 94% of the time, and some of those times appeared to be errors on his part.

As Jim Swanson of Progressive News Radio comments,

A Republican with a horrible voting record, even for topics that matter for his constituency. He does hold the honor of being in the top ten percentile of the worst Congressional Representatives in the United States government. As he no doubt sits at his desk in Washington, D.C., doodling on paper, reading the latest edition of “Field and Stream” and waiting for House Minority leader John Boehner to phone Wally’s office and tell him how to vote, the time has plainly come to send Wally home to retirement.

As a personal anecdote, I and many other of Herger’s constituents have written lengthy letters in support of HCR and energy independence, only to get “Thank you for support!” form letters in reply.  Apparently even his staff doesn’t bother to read his mail.

As we know, ousting Herger will take some money. As Gail Collins wrote in The New York Times::

We have been entertaining ourselves with theories about how this election year is going to be all about voter anger. Or Washington insiders. Or health care. Or TARP. But, really, it’s going to be about money. Gobs of cash falling on campaigns like tar balls on a beach.

Jim Reed has already done some innovative fund-raising in sending out his unique “Talking Mailpieces” to Democrats all over the country, where he uses Herger’s own words against him, to devastating effect:

If you agree that California needs a representative in Washington who will actually work for and represent us, contribute to Jim Reed now!

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