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April 17, 2009

Not waiting for Garamendi

The campaign of Democratic state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, the early front-runner to succeed Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), is already taking shots at his likely new primary opponent, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi.

Garamendi has been a statewide political figure for over two decades and was running in a crowded primary field for governor. But he was lagging behind in early polling and now is expected to jump into the race for Tauscher’s Bay Area-House seat.

Garamendi has a higher statewide profile than DeSaulnier, but would start a campaign behind in the battle for endorsements. Tauscher and a bevy of other Democratic officials have already endorsed DeSaulnier, and will continue supporting the state senator.

DeSaulnier consultant John Shallman said that Garamendi’s high profile offers him little benefit in a Congressional race, while DeSaulnier already is well-known by area constituents.  And he accused him of shopping for the most feasible race.

“The issues we face at a national level are so serious and complicated and important that this isn’t a race you get into on a whim because you’ve got nothing better to do,” said Shallman.

State Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan is also still mulling over the race, and a more-splintered field could give her additional reason to jump in.