CA-10 Democratic Candidates Square Off in Antioch

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on July 05, 2009 with 3 Comments

Democratic candidates in the race to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher
in CA-10 squared off Thursday during a debate in Antioch.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

July 5, 2009

Democratic Party candidates in the special election race to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher in the Tenth Congressional District squared off Thursday during a debate in Antioch.

Audience members seated in the City of Antioch’s new public chamber were treated by moderator Charice Gillian to a closer examination of the candidacies of Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Lt. Governor John Garamendi, Adriel Hampton and Anthony Woods.

Tiffany Attwood, who is the latest Democratic candidate to file candidacy in the race, attended the debate but was not granted permission to join the panel owing to a late registration problem.

Gillian, moderating the debate for East County Democrats For Action, focused her prepared questions on a range of issues facing the District and the nation, including the US economy, healthcare, mass-transportation, education, energy, public works projects, US Middle East policy, marijuana legalization, recidivism rates and immigration.

Debate moderator Charice Gillian

A vast suburban geographical expanse, CA-10 is considered a Democratic leaning District that includes parts of Alameda, Solano, Contra Costa and Sacramento counties. It is also home to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Travis Air Force Base.

Buchanan, 56, a single mother of five children, focused on her background as a financial analyst in the private sector and her tenure as President of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.  If elected, Buchanan said she would focus on the US economy to create jobs, education reform, and making health care a right.

Joan Buchanan

DeSaulnier, 57, father of two, focused on his political career as a former planning commissioner, council member, county supervisor, mayor, assemblymember and sitting senator.

“I hope that you will join in letting me serve one more time in Washington D.C.” he said.

Mark DeSaulnier

Garamendi, 64, father of six, said the US faced a “crisis” in the healthcare system, an issue he said he has worked to resolve throughout his political career.  On energy policy, Garamendi said the nation must embrace an “industrial revolution” in renewable energy conversion if the country is to eliminate its dependence on foreign oil.

“I see a future out there that is very troubled because of our energy policy in the United States,” he said.

John Garamendi

Hampton, 31, a father of two who currently works as an investigator for the City and County of San Francisco, spoke of his background as a former journalist.

“For my whole adult life, what I have worked on is letting people know what’s going on with their government, what’s going in with their community, and helping to make those things right.”

In reference to the State’s budget crisis, Hampton said Buchanan, DeSaulnier and Garamendi “each have jobs in Sacramento, and you can judge how well they’re doing it.”

“Of course, they would like to escape to Washington D.C.,” Hampton added. “It’s not a pretty picture in Sacramento.”

Hampton, who has run his campaign so far using personal savings and credit card advances, implored voters to focus on change candidacies while singling out DeSaulnier for his recent 2012 Senate re-election campaign mailer Hampton said DeSaulnier used to promote his candidacy to replace Tauscher.

“That’s the kind of politics that in my career as a journalist I have despised,” Hampton said. “It’s one of reasons I left journalism, because when you see a problem as monumental as what has happened to our governmental system, where it’s all about money… that is the problem in our political system.”

Adriel Hampton

Woods, 28, an openly gay decorated Iraq war veteran who was honorably discharged from the military for violating its ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, said he was proud to be from the District. Like Hampton, Woods also distanced his candidacy from the career candidacies of Garamendi, DeSaulnier and Buchanan.

“Most of my fellow candidates here on the stage will like to talk you about the time that they’ve spent in Sacramento, or the time they’ve spent in office,” Woods said. “But I’m going to talk to you about the time I’ve spent in your shoes.”

Woods said he will focus his candidacy on the healthcare crisis, education, the economy and addressing failed policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Though all of the candidates said they support healthcare reform, Woods is the only candidate not to enthusiastically support a single-payer healthcare solution.

Anthony Woods

And while money is expected to provide a marketing advantage to the frontrunner candidacies of Buchanan, DeSaulnier and Garamendi,  the grassroots candidacies of Hampton and Woods are likely to attract votes from disaffected voters unhappy with the political status quo.

Other declared candidates, or those likely to run include Democrat Tony Bothwell ; Republicans Nick Gerber, David Harmer and Catherine Moy; Green Jeremy Cloward; and independent Gino VanGundy.

The runoff special election will be held November 3 following party primaries in September.

More photos after the jump

Tiffany Attwood.



Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Comments for CA-10 Democratic Candidates Square Off in Antioch are now closed.

  1. Edi,

    I’ve personally covered the events and DeSaulnier, Garamendi and Buchanan pay all those cute kids in T shirts to appear and carry signs. I know this because I always ask them. I think it’s hilarious that you’re complaining that people with multi-million dollar campaigns aren’t getting enough coverage from the alternative press.

    I’ve yet to see any grassroots support for Woods. He’s being managed by Newsom’s Svengali, Eric Jaye and they haven’t put much into the effort which is clearly just to introduce him. Jaye’s the guy who tried to get Dan Noyes and others fired for asking tough questions of Gavin Newsom. Or, of being too ‘honest’ if you will. When I asked Anthony Woods if it wasn’t ironic that while he’d gained fame for being ‘honest’ with the military and lost his job … that his campaign was being run by a man who tried to make reporters and editors get fired for being honest … Woods merely praised Jaye.

    You can bitch all you want but Luke Thomas is the only publisher in the United States giving this campaign the attention it deserves. I guess you could pull an Eric Jaye and try to get Luke’s boss to fire him. Oh, wait. Luke’s his own boss.


  2. One of the interesting things about this article is the space given to each of the candidates. Buchanan, Garamendi and DeSaulnier: the three elected officials are given bare bones bio information while the newest challengers who have no official office experience are given wider and more indepth coverage.

    The positional differences of the candidates as expressed at that meeting is not addressed substantially giving an imbalanced perspective of the event.

    The implications that only Woods and Hampton have grassroots support is also made, totally contrary to what is actually happening in the district especially with the campaigns of DeSaulnier and Buchanan both of whom have collected substantial grass roots supporters which should have been evident at that meeting to the reporter.

    Great pictures though.

  3. Brilliant photos,

    You needed more pics or prose to define the really amazing beauty and awe of this particular district. It ranges from The Lawrence Livermore Labs in the South where every single nuclear warhead for the U.S. has been developed since 1950 to the giant air base in the North where these monsters can be delivered around the world on B-52 bombers.

    And, as you roll between the truly golden California hills between Livermore and Travis AFB you pass the windmill farms hearkening a natural energy in a less violent future. Since modern wars are mostly fought over oil it is fascinating to see the two alternatives to oil in one congressional district. Nuclear energy not yet safe. And, from the past, the same wind that propelled Magellan around the world 5 centuries ago.

    Ah yes, from cowboy bars in the delta to wine tasting rooms in Walnut Creek … CA10 has it all.

    great work,