The 11th Congressional District race between Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton and Republican challenger David Harmer, of San Ramon, promises to go down to the wire, if you believe political observers and both candidates.
Republican strategists nationwide look at the 11th as one where Harmer has a good chance for victory. It's one of the few California districts where the incumbent is considered vulnerable.
The wide-ranging 11th Congressional District covers three distinct regions — most of San Joaquin County, including the Lodi area; most of the Livermore and San Ramon valleys; plus the southern Santa Clara County community of Morgan Hill.
A third candidate, David Christensen, an electrician from Tracy, is running for McNerney's seat. He is an American Independent Party member.
Harmer and McNerney are furiously raising as much money as they can. Both feel they need a lot of money to get their message to the voters. What makes the 11th race especially expensive is that it includes both the Sacramento and Bay Area TV markets, making advertising costlier.
McNerney has the fundraising advantage because he was uncontested for his party's nomination in the June primary. Harmer, on the other hand, had a bruising primary against three opponents. Several others ran earlier in the campaign before dropping out.
McNerney reports raising more than $700,000 during the third quarter — July 1 through Sept. 30. Harmer raised about $550,000 during the same period.
As of Sept. 30, McNerney had nearly $1.5 million remaining to finance the rest of his campaign, not counting any future contribution. Harmer's chief of staff, Cameron Wilkinson, said that Harmer's campaign will not immediately release how much cash it has for the rest of the campaign.
Harmer's fundraising for the third quarter of 2010 is interpreted differently by the two major candidates. Harmer's campaign is delighted that supporters have been so generous in supporting him, while McNerney's camp says that Harmer raised "only" $550,000.
A debate between the three candidates is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Monte Vista Middle School, 751 W. Lowell Ave., Tracy.
The general election is Nov. 2, though absentee ballots — now known as "vote by mail" — were mailed to voters this week.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.