Congressman Pete Stark Gets Nasty as Campaign Closes

Pete Stark's campaign has sent out a deceptive mailer to voters that attacks his opponent Eric Swalwell.

Politics can be tough and it's not uncommon (to say the least) for politicians to bend the truth.

But a recent mailer sent by the Pete Stark campaign takes it to an extreme, as first reported by the Bay Area News Group.

The mailer (shown above) implies that Stark's opponent, Eric Swalwell, is a closeted Tea Partier whose campaign is being funded by Republicans.

Swalwell hasn't given any indication that he agrees with the Tea Party in any significant way. In a live chat with Patch in May, Swalwell was asked who he would model himself after politically. He listed three Democrats — Rep. Ellen Tauscher, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley.

The mailer contains a photo of Swalwell holding an Etch-A-Sketch of a GOP elephant.

But the Swalwell campaign says the photo is doctored and gave BANG the original photo, where Swalwell is holding an Etch-A-Sketch of a man that looks like himself (you can see the original attached to this article).

"It just misrepresents, it implies Eric drew that elephant on the Etch-a-Sketch and he did not," she said. "There was no reason to take a personal photo of Eric and doctor it like that."

The mailer also says, "Campaign finance reports show that over $86,000 of Eric Swalwell's contributions come from Republicans. Swalwell claims he's no conservative, but the evidence speaks for itself. Republicans and their corporate allies in the pharmaceutical world like Amgen and Pfizer are excited about young Swalwell because they think he's their cup of tea."

Though it's likely Swalwell has received money from conservatives, a large majority of the money he has received has come from fellow Democrats. (Read our recent story on the finances of the campaign.)

BANG explains why a Republican would give money to the Swalwell campaign:

Put yourself in the shoes of any Republican - tea party-sympathetic or otherwise - living in this district: Who would you vote for, with only these two candidates on the ballot? Stark and his supporters are proud that he's one of the most doggedly liberal members of Congress, and it's safe to assume anyone with even a streak of conservatism would vote against him. That's been part of Swalwell's campaign strategy from the get-go - appealing to a broader spectrum of voters than Stark can. If anyone to the right of Pete Stark is deemed a tea partier, there are a whooooooole lot of Democrats and independents out there who'll cry foul.

The mailer also raises the question that Swalwell was involved in a pay-to-play scheme and awarded a no-bid contract to people who donated to his campaign. (Patch linked out to a Huffington Post story on this accusation last month.)

On that accusation, Swalwell spokeswoman Lisa Tucker said, "there's no significance there. This was an agenda item pushed forth by the city staff. It was a 4-to-1 vote. There's no there there."

Mr. Mike to you November 06, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Uninstalling ...#Starkism ........ ██████████████████████░ 99.5% Complete!
Frank Mockery November 06, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Nothing is more illustrative of how marginalized clueless Republican voters have become than their vocal support of Democrat Eric Swalwell ! Republicans are so uncompetitive for office here that they can't find a viable candidate,much less talk them into running ! Senate Candidate Elizabeth Emken is a perfect example as she never had any chance to upset Senator Diane Feinstein ! Emken's claim to fame was her fourth place finish (out of four) for the Republican nomination to oppose Congressman Jerry McNerney in 2010 ! I'll bet that few could name the three candidates that finished ahead of her either & that's why she's had loser written all over her since her nomination ! It's heartwarming to see so many conservatives rushing to the polls to vote for a Democrat & a big thanks to Republican Abel Maldonado for his disasterous (for Republicans) top-two candidates move on to the general election debacle ! The fewer Republicans in office the happier most Californians are & we'll be downright giddy when the last votes are counted tonight !!!
Steve November 06, 2012 at 06:00 PM
The curious thing about Democrat domination of California is how effective and functional our State government is. Without the need to compromise in the State Legislature the Democrats have driven the state budget into the ground. They go from baling wire to bandaids to bubblegum to keep the State barely afloat. Our State credit rating is at it's lowest point and dropping. Try to pick an area where the the state legislature has made things much better than any other state.
Frank Mockery November 06, 2012 at 06:25 PM
We'll see how much more effective the Legislature is if it has a Democratic "super-majority" after this election & they're finally unfettered by Republican opposition !!! Now if only California's federal tax dollars weren't being redistributed to subsidize backward Republican dominated red states & California got back as much as it contributes to federal coffers everyone would be better off !
The Real Anon November 07, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I didn't vote either because I'm not a Democrat and refuse to cast a vote for one.


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