Although he has never held public office, David Harmer has an extensive political background. Through his father, John Harmer, who served as both a state senator and lieutenant governor, David Harmer frequented state and federal offices. He reportedly walked precincts for his dad at the age of 4.
Harmer also remembers the late President Ronald Reagan, who was close to John Harmer when Reagan was governor of California. And he uses the former president's name considerably on the campaign trail.
The San Ramon Republican pledges to disband the health care program that President Barack Obama signed this year, not allocate any stimulus funds that are yet to be spent, reduce taxes and regulations on small businesses, reduce the national debt, and further control the Mexican border.
Campaign consultant Tim Clark says that Harmer's role wouldn't change, regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans control Congress next year.
"He will fight for the same things, regardless of who is in control in Congress," Clark said.
Clark spoke to the News-Sentinel on Harmer's behalf on Tuesday because the candidate had a bad case of laryngitis. However, Harmer was able to discuss his candidacy two days later.
Harmer's answer to most economic questions is to reduce taxes and regulations on small businesses. That will improve the economy and make individual families struggling with their finances whole, Clark said.
Democrats criticized Harmer for opposing federal bailouts, though he accepted a $75,406 bonus and a $84,586 severance package when he was laid off from JP Morgan Chase Bank in January 2009.
Harmer was an attorney for Washington Mutual's credit card division, but was laid off after the bank went out of business and was acquired by Chase.
Chase had received $25 billion in federal bailout money, but repaid the money to the federal treasury, Clark said.
Then Harmer accepted $2,395 in unemployment through April 30, 2009, but he defends it because he paid into the unemployment fund while he was working at Washington Mutual.
Here are some of Harmer's positions on the issues:
IMMIGRATION: Harmer supports completing the fence on the Mexican border and providing border patrol personnel with modern technology to identify tunnels and other illegal passageways.
REDUCING NATIONAL DEBT: Federal spending should be cut, and the economy can be stimulated by reducing taxes and regulations on small businesses, Clark said. The national debt will cost each taxpayer $121,000, according to Clark.
DELTA/PERIPHERAL CANAL: Harmer strongly opposes the canal to transport additional water to Southern California and southern San Joaquin Valley farmers. The solution, he said, is to invest in new water storage. Congress must be involved in the decision-making process, because San Joaquin County is intertwined with groundwater, rivers run by the state and rivers that the federal government controls.
"It's hard to deal with any piece of water in isolation," Harmer said.
AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: "With Afghanistan, I'm concerned that the president has failed to say what victory looks like," Harmer said. "I think the military can achieve almost anything you ask them to do, but if you can't use the word 'win' ... "
Harmer added that while America can't afford to spend many years in combat in either country, it must do what it needs to do to make sure al-Qaida doesn't have a base of operations in Afghanistan, and terrorists must be kept away from Pakistan's nuclear weapons, he said.
"I don't support wasting American taxpayers to convert Afghanistan into a European-style democracy," he said.
America can't afford to take Afghanistan's "stone-age infrastructure" and make it a 21st-century model, Harmer said.
SCHOOL VOUCHERS: Harmer strongly supports parental choice allowing children to attend either public or private school by issuing school vouchers. In an article for the Cato Institute in 1997, Harmer wrote that voucher plans would eventually lead to the complete separation of school and state, which would liberate education from bureaucrats and politicians.
CREDIT CARD DEBT: Harmer supports unemployment insurance, but opposes help for those in credit card debt.
"Just as the federal government shouldn't spend money it doesn't have, the individual consumer shouldn't, either," Harmer said. "Don't spend any money you don't have."
Credit cards can be a useful tool, but only if the consumer controls the card and the card doesn't control the consumer, he said.
Clark added, "Don't pass new taxes on families and businesses. Let the free market grow us out of this recession. That will help make families whole."
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.