CONGRESSMAN Eric Swalwell faced a huge uphill battle when he decided to take on 20-term incumbent Pete Stark in the newly redistricted 15th in 2012. Thanks to the open primary system that allows the top two finishers in the primary to run-off in the general election, he ran a strong second in the primary and then picked up enough votes to prevail rather easily in a Democrat vs. Democrat battle in a heavily Democratic district.
Interestingly, it appears that uphill battle now falls to veteran Alameda County politician Ellen Corbett, who currently state Senate majority leader after serving in the state Assembly. Previously, she served as a San Leandro City Councilwoman and mayor.
Swalwell has lined up endorsements from most of the Democrat leaders in the House and will have former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta as the headlined speaker at his formal campaign kickoff in September.
The fundraising tells the story with the Bay Area News Group reporting that Corbett raised just $12k in the last quarter and had $116,000 on hand, while Swalwell pulled in $237,000 and has more than $405,000 cash in the bank.
Swalwell's early endorsements convinced one potential challenger, Ro Khanna, to instead take on Congressman Mike Honda in the 17th District on the peninsula. Khanna raised about three times more money than Honda in the latest reporting period.
SWITCHING GEARS: The tiny inventory of resale housing in most of the Bay Area has sparked the sales of new homes. Developers can basically sell whatever they can build and are rolling up prices to keep pace with the red-hot resale market. It is just the opposite of when the market started to crash in 2007 and builders had to adjust their pricing for the next several years so the new homes could appraise against bank-owned properties that were pulling prices down.
Where you see the evidence of the market that seems to be overheating with the lack of inventory is in the new homes section of the Bay Area News Group. The "section" has been just four pages for years, probably since 2007. For the past two weekends, it has been eight pages with a pretty healthy group of ads for new homes. It is interesting that home builders have decided to spend some money marketing when most of them are holding lotteries for new homes.