Although Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton), facing no opposition for the Democrat Party nomination for election to a third term in office, left town at 7 a.m. Tuesday to return to Washington, it was quite a different story for the Republican candidates vying for their party's nomination.
For David Harmer, "it was a happy night," an exuberant Harmer said.
It doesn't hurt when election returns as of midnight showed Harmer with 35.2 percent of the vote compared to his closest competitor, San Joaquin County farmer and wine-grape grower Brad Goerhing, with 28.1 percent of the vote. Late Tuesday night, with 28 percent of all precincts counted, Harmer enjoyed a commanding nine-point lead over Goehring and two other GOP candidates running for the 11th Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives.
"The Harmer family will go to bed tonight feeling good," Harmer, at his election night party at a private residence in Pleasanton, told his supporters and volunteers. Harmer added that he would not declare himself a winner until all of the votes were counted.
The mood at Harmer's party was upbeat, with a tinge of victorious momentum and excitement emanating throughout the evening at the spacious home situated in the Pleasanton hills. More than 200 friends, supporters and volunteers were there to cheer on Harmer.
And the momentum for Harmer's campaign has been there all along, said his father, John Harmer, the former lieutenant governor of California from 1974 to 1975 under then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.
"There is chemistry here with this campaign, and that chemistry is here tonight," the senior Harmer said. "There is this great momentum that David has had from the beginning. It starts with the supporters and the volunteers, who have been instrumental in this campaign.
Among the four GOP candidates running for the 11th Congressional District seat, recent tracking polls showed the San Ramon attorney was leading his three Republican rivals, all of whom entered Election Day in a close race to see who will challenge two-term Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton. The 11th District encompasses Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties, spreading out in the configuration of an oddly elongated jigsaw puzzle piece that extends from Stockton all the way south to Gilroy, then covering the Tri-Valley area: Livermore, Dublin, parts of Pleasanton and most of San Ramon, excluding the city's fast-growing, master-planned Dougherty Valley, where, ironically, is where Harmer resides with his wife, Elaine, and their four children.
"The Harmer family is going to be really happy whatever the outcome," Harmer said. "If I end up winning the nomination, we'll be grateful for the opportunity to carry the message and hopefully serve. If I don't, we'll be grateful for the opportunity to get back to normal life. There's no downside. We're going to be happy either way."
If Harmer becomes the Republican nominee and beats McNerney in November, he wants to bring a "renewed spirit" to Washington, referring to "what's really wrong in Washington" has to do with elected officials forgetting who they work for: their constituents back home.
"You don't lose touch with the people who sent you there (to Washington)," Harmer explained. "You remember who sent you there, and why."
"The government is fat and happy," he said. "There's something wrong with that", referring to excessive Federal spending.
"If I'm sent to Washington, it'll be because people have had enough of that. And they want to change it," Harmer said.
Harmer said he is grateful for the "wonderful people who have worked so hard" for him throughout the campaign.
"The predominating emotion is gratitude," he said. "I'm grateful for these wonderful people who have worked so hard, and trusted me with the opportunity to represent their views in the campaign."