Tags: David Harmer

Harmer: Replace Your Debate Drinking Game With a Donating Game


David Harmer, who ran the closest race of any California Republican House candidate in 2010, sends along this message of his particular disdain for Vice President Biden, and his challenge to Romney donors.

I don’t mind stupid people. It’s stupid people who think they’re smart that aggravate me — which goes a long way toward explaining my profound and enduring antipathy to Vice President Joe Biden, the most vapid gasbag ever to hold the office.

Back when I was young and frisky and counsel to a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I routinely had to sit just a few feet behind and over from that insufferable blowhard. His chairmanship of Senate Judiciary was notable for two, and only two, things: his world-class logorrhea, and his serial character assassination of honorable men and women whose nominations he torpedoed for the crime of holding conservative convictions and taking the Constitution seriously. For someone with an intellect as shallow as Biden’s (76th out of 85 in his class at a law school that U.S. News ranks as 96th out of 200) — and who was a mendacious plagiarist to boot (see, e.g., Why Biden’s plagiarism shouldn’t be forgotten) — to question the qualifications and character of jurists like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas required a veritable Everest of chutzpah.

In 2008, the mainstream media widely regarded Biden as adding “gravitas” to the Democratic ticket. Whether that says more about the shallowness of Barack Obama or the shallowness of his acolytes in the press is hard to say. Either way, I’m anticipating tonight’s debate with unseemly eagerness, indeed relish. Unlike Biden, Paul Ryan is a gentleman, so Slow Joe won’t get a taste of his own medicine. But next to the earnest, informed, disciplined, and precise Ryan, Biden can’t possibly go 90 minutes without exposing himself as a five-star buffoon.

Last week the American people restored my waning faith in their good sense by declaring Mitt Romney the victor in his debate by a three-to-one margin. Tonight’s contest should be even more lopsided.

No doubt conservatives across the country will augment the debate’s entertainment value with drinking contests. As a teetotaling Mormon, I can’t join that kind of fun — but I’m hereby challenging you to a more productive variant. Every time Biden says any of the following words or phrases . . . instead of taking a shot, donate $5 to the Romney-Ryan campaign!


Come on, man

Millionaires and billionaires

Bin Laden’s dead and GM’s alive

Keep a running tally, then contribute here. When you do, please click the box that says, “I know my referrer’s information” (between Payment Information and Employment Information). That lets the campaign credit your contribution toward the amount I’ve committed to help raise ($311,187 so far, shooting for $500k).

Thank you, and happy viewing!

Harmer may call Biden stupid, but I’ll bet that Biden would disarm him with his trademarked declaration of humility, “I’ll bet that I have a much higher I.Q. than you.”

Tags: Barack Obama , David Harmer , Joe Biden , Mitt Romney , Paul Ryan

So Close Yet So Far for David Harmer in CA-11


One of the guys I was really pulling for this cycle, David Harmer, concedes:

At 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 3, with 99% of precincts reporting, we led by 23 votes. Counting was stalled, so I went to bed. When I awoke two hours later, we trailed by 121 votes — making ours, at that time, the closest of any race for the House or Senate anywhere in the nation. As the counting of absentee and provisional ballots continued, the gap gradually grew. But not until three weeks after the election, just before Thanksgiving, did the Associated Press call the race. It was the second-to-last House race in the nation to be called. And not until four weeks after the election — this past Tuesday — did we have a complete count of all ballots cast.

The final results:

Jerry McNerney (Dem)115,361 48%

David Harmer (Rep)112,703 47%

David Christensen (AI)12,439 5%

Total 240,503 100%

The campaign team remains concerned about some aspects of the voting and counting processes. A future message will outline those concerns and offer recommendations for improvement. But the incumbent’s margin is large enough to make a recount unlikely to change the result, and the precinct-level data do not display the sort of anomalies that would justify a challenge. Accordingly, I have called Congressman McNerney to congratulate him on winning the election and to wish him well in his continued service. He accepted the call graciously and we had a cordial conversation. Some people wonder why I waited so long; others will wonder why I threw in the towel. Perhaps a few explanations are in order.


Having invested nearly two years of full-time and uncompensated effort in this endeavor, I was ready for a verdict on November 2. I knew that the race would be close, but I intended and expected to win. I was prepared and eager to serve. On the other hand, had we clearly lost, my disappointment would have been tempered by relief at returning to the normal routines of private life. What I hadn’t anticipated was neither of the above — a month of uncertainty. When you’ve given your all without attaining success, is any temptation more seductive than to quit?I can report firsthand that the Harmer family had already had enough. But we recognized that the campaign wasn’t ours alone; it belonged to everyone who had invested time, money, reputation, or heart in it.

I was a spokesman for tens of thousands of volunteers, donors, and voters, the advocate of their views and values, and the trustee of their political hopes. They merited my best efforts to ensure that their voices were heard and their votes counted. Among those urging me to hang in there was my friend Mick Mulvaney, who defeated House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt in South Carolina. “I will be watching,” he wrote. “I won my first race for office by 212 votes after 3 recounts and 1 lawsuit, so I understand a little of what you are going through.”

At New Member Orientation in Washington, D.C., I compared notes with others whose elections were undecided. While I was there, Joe Walsh’s race in Illinois was called in his favor; a recount confirmed Renee Ellmers’s win in North Carolina; Blake Farenthold maintained his lead in Texas; and Ann Marie Buerkle extended hers in New York. Other veterans of close races, like Steve Stivers of Ohio, encouraged me not to give up. Not only did the Republican freshmen offer moral support, many of them contributed generously to the recount fund. Key endorsers like Governor Mitt Romney did so as well.

Meanwhile, back at home, we had more volunteers than we could deploy to monitor the counting. I offer my wholehearted thanks to each of them, and to everyone else who participated in this enterprise, both before and after Election Day: the campaign co-chairs, endorsers, event hosts, donors, volunteers, interns, and staff. I also thank the reporters who covered the race and told our story. Ours looked, felt, and behaved like a winning campaign. The enthusiasm and intensity were on our side. But we were heavily outspent in the final stretch, and the barrage of attack ads drove enough voters to the third party to prove decisive. In a future message I’ll give a more detailed report of our performance. Meanwhile, please accept my appreciation for the confidence you’ve placed in me. It has been an honor to serve as your nominee.

Yours truly,

David Harmer

Tags: David Harmer

While I Was Out, Some Votes Were Counted . . .


Periodically on the NR cruise, guests would ask me for the latest on the various unresolved races. I had to tell them I had no real updates; I had been on a boat with them, with spotty Internet access.

While I was gone, here’s what we know is resolved:

  • Barring some astonishingly unexpected turn of events, Lisa Murkowski will be sworn in for another term as senator from Alaska.
  • Republican Renee Ellmers defeated incumbent Democrat Bob Etheridge in North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district. In the end, Etheridge choked.
  • Republican Joe Walsh defeated incumbent Melissa Bean in Illinois’s 8th district. He’s an eagle, that guy.

And now the not quite resolved:

  • In New York’s 25th district, there’s promising news for Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle: “Republican Ann Marie Buerkle increased her lead over U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei by a seemingly insurmountable 567 votes on Sunday when Wayne County completed its unofficial tally of absentee votes.”
  • In Texas, the recounting hasn’t added up to much change in the totals: “A ballot recount in South Texas demanded by U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz is nearly complete, but he’s still trailing Republican challenger Blake Farenthold. Only about 15,000 absentee and early ballots have yet to be re-tabulated in Cameron County, which includes Brownsville, in the 27th Congressional District race. Farenthold’s spokesman said officials expect to finish on Monday. All the other votes have been recounted, and Ortiz trails by about 800 votes, roughly the same tally on Election Day. The recount so far has resulted in each candidate gaining or losing only a few votes.”
  • In New York’s 1st district, Democrat Tim Bishop appears to have taken the lead through a count of absentee ballots: “After four days of absentee ballot counting in the race for the First Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop, D – Southampton, took the lead from Randy Altschuler, the Republican challenger and businessman from St. James. According to spokesman Jon Schneider, Bishop leads by 15 votes. Altschuler started the absentee ballot count, which began on Tuesday, with a 383-vote lead.”
  • Finally, the outlook for California’s Republicans appears to be some tough math: “U.S. Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno had a 2,742 vote edge over Republican Andy Vidak, a political novice from Hanford, in the 20th Congressional District. Costa had 51.6 percent of the vote to Vidak’s 48.4 percent in the district that includes all of Kings County and parts of Kern and Fresno counties, according to the secretary of state’s office. . . . Kings County had finished its count, Fresno County tallied about 99 percent of its ballots as of Friday, and Kern County planned to release the count from about 4,500 remaining ballots on Monday.”
  • “To the north, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton was leading by 1,783 votes over Republican David Harmer, an attorney from San Ramon. His lead in the 11th Congressional District was less than 1 percent of all votes cast.”

And we may get a chance to kick around Phil Hare again: “Defeated less than three weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., said Friday he’s thinking about running again in 2012. He said he probably wouldn’t make a decision for at least another couple of months.”

Tags: Andy Vidak , Blake Farenthold , David Harmer , Joe Walsh , Lisa Murkowski , Phil Hare , Renee Ellmers

The Unresolved House Races, Part Four


One of the lawyers helping out David Harmer, Republican candidate for Congress in California’s 11th congressional district, writes in with an update . . .

[Incumbent Democrat Jerry] McNerney is up by 2269 votes, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. McNerney’s strongest counties (Santa Clara — 52/43 and Alameda — 56/42) have both nearly fully reported. Alameda is completely done (that’s where I’ve been working for the campaign as a volunteer attorney) and Santa Clara has a handful left.

The remaining ballots — of which there are tens of thousands — are in Harmer’s strongest two counties, San Joaquin and Contra Costa. Harmer won both counties. In CC, he won by slightly less than 1%, and in San Joaquin, he won 49-44-7, with 7% going to the AIP candidate Dave Christenson.

Notably, it is highly unlikely that 7% of vote-by-mail ballots will be going to Christenson. These are voters who took time at home to carefully go through their ballots and then had the energy to bring them in on election day. These aren’t people who throw their votes away. And if Harmer can push Christenson’s total down to somewhere around 4-5% in SJ County, and keep the 1% margin in CC County, the election should be his.

SJ will update today around 4 PM, and more tomorrow. Contra Costa still has ballots to count this week, as well as provisionals starting next week. If I had to guess, I think Harmer will be up by the end of the day tomorrow, and then it’s a tossup as Contra Costa counts write in ballots.

For now though, Harmer needs funds and has sent out a contribution link here.

McNerney is declaring victory, insisting that his 1,681-vote lead cannot be toppled with the remaining 11,000 ballots. Indeed, America, these are the math skills that have made our budget what it is today. (The 2,269-vote margin mentioned by my correspondent is the less recent figure.)

Tags: David Harmer

The NRCC Debuts ‘Still Counting’


The NRCC has set up a page to contribute to all of their contenders whose races have gone into overtime, so to speak: Still Counting.

They say the vote totals on the page will be updated as quickly as possible. The short version is Renee Ellmers (NC-2) leads by more than 1,600 votes; Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Randy Altschuler (NY-01), Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25), Andy Vidak (CA-20), and Joe Walsh (IL-08) lead by several hundred votes each; David Harmer (CA-11) and Andy Barr (KY-06) trail by several hundred votes each.

Tags: Andy Barr , Andy Vidak , Ann Marie Buerkle , Blake Farenthold , David Harmer , Joe Walsh , Randy Altschuler , Renee Ellmers

Just a Few Hundred Thousand More Votes to Count in CA-11’s Counties!


David Harmer, the Republican candidate in the still-unresolved California 11th district House race, is looking for funds to help with his post-election vote count fight:

David Harmer, the Republican candidate in the 11th Congressional District, has reached out to donors to raise money for a potential recount in the close contest.

The San Ramon Republican was trailing incumbent Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney by 624 votes this morning, a split that represents about a half of a percentage point of all votes tallied so far. The secretary of state’s website estimates that more than 354,000 ballots remain to be counted in the four counties that are part of the 11th Congressional District. The campaigns have pegged the number of uncounted ballots affecting the race’s outcome at “tens of thousands.”

Citing what he called a “post-election no-man’s land,” Harmer penned an e-mail to supporters to announce that he has “established a separate recount fund within our existing campaign committee.” While the fund could be used to cover the cost of a recount once results are certified next month, the cash can also be used to pay for monitoring the counting of outstanding absentee and provisional ballots.

“To be clear, what’s happening now is not a recount; it’s the original count of ballots that were not tabulated in the hours following the closing of the polls. But funds deposited within the recount account may also be used to monitor post-election vote counting, as we are now doing with absentee and provisional ballots — even if a formal recount is not underway,” he wrote in the e-mail.

How do you have 354,000 ballots uncounted, one week after Election Day?

This is a district that has grown by leaps and bounds since the 2000 census; its population is estimated at 763,111 in Michael Barone’s Almanac of American Politics.

UPDATE: Ah, this clarifies things a bit. The 11th district includes parts of these four counties, but only small portions of some of them. There are 354,000 uncounted ballots in those four counties, but only a fraction of that total are votes in this congressional district.

Overall, there are 1.4 million votes waiting to be counting in California.

Tags: David Harmer , Jerry McNerney

One More Race Where the Third Party Cost the GOP an Easier Win . . .


David Harmer, waiting to see if he is the new Republican congressman in California’s 11th congressional district, writes in on the phenomenon of third-party candidates costing the GOP wins:

Jim, in my race, McNerney and I are tied at 47.5% each, with a conservative (but clueless) independent taking 5% of the vote. Many absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted, and I remain confident of ultimate victory. But without the third-party candidate, I would have won last night.

I was a fellow at Heritage, published by Cato, attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, counsel to Hatch on Senate Judiciary. The third-party guy is an electrician with no policy experience. I defy anyone to explain how a vote for him advanced the libertarian, conservative, or constitutionalist causes.

In this case, the electrician’s efforts have failed to illuminate.

Tags: David Harmer

Two Interesting Polls in California House Races...


In 2006, California Democrat Rep. Dennis Cardoza won 65 percent of the vote. In 2008, Cardoza ran unopposed.

In 2010, Republican Mike Berryhill is within 6 of him.

In an election for US House of Representatives from California’s 18th Congressional District today, 10/07/10, 3 days after early voting began and 25 days until votes are counted, incumbent Democrat Dennis Cardoza has a narrow advantage over well-known Republican challenger Mike Berryhill, 50% to 44%, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted bilingually, in English and in Spanish, for KFSN-TV in Fresno.

White voters break 5:4 Republican. Hispanic voters break 3:1 Democrat. The percentage of the electorate that is Hispanic, here estimated at 23%, will determine the size of Cardoza’s margin.

Elsewhere in California, I am hearing that a new SurveyUSA poll shows Republican David Harmer… leading incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney. You’ll hear more as I hear it.


 In an election for US House of Representatives in California’s 11th congressional district today, 10/12/10, Republican David Harmer edges incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney 48% to 42%, according to this latest exclusive KPIX-TV poll conducted by SurveyUSA.

Among men, Harmer leads by 20 points; among women, McNerney leads by 6 — a 26-point gender gap. Harmer has a bubble of support among voters age 35 to 49; the candidates are effectively even among older voters. Harmer, who previously ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Utah’s 2nd District in 1996 and in California’s neighboring 10th Congressional District in a special election last year, takes 8 of 10 Republican votes. McNerney, who is seeking a third term, takes 8 of 10 Democratic votes. Independents break 5:3 for the Republican.

Tags: David Harmer , Mike Berryhill

Which Man Could Get the DCCC to Spend $1.47 Million in Northern California?


Which Republican is the DCCC most afraid of? It might be David Harmer, who’s running for Congress in California’s 11th district. Harmer ran in a special election in the neighboring district last year, and garnered 42.8 percent in a district where Republican House candidates usually perform in the low 30s.

I wrote yesterday, “There aren’t a lot of competitive races in the San Francisco area; it appears the DCCC plans to spend $756,000 to defend incumbent Jerry McNerney from David Harmer; McNerney won 55 percent to 45 percent in 2008.” With turnout probably high among both party’s bases with California’s competitive gubernatorial and senatorial races, I would have put Harmer in the category of “promising candidate in tough terrain,” with odds of winning still below 50-50.

But Harmer wrote in to note that the district also includes a chunk of the Sacramento suburbs, and with few other competitive races in that area, it appears the DCCC is scheduling even more money for this race: $800,000 for the San Francisco market, and another $670,000 in the Sacramento television market. That adds up to $1.47 million, just to protect McNerney, who shouldn’t be in that much trouble.

The good news for Harmer? Another $4.53 million, and he’ll be right up there with Steve Austin.

Tags: David Harmer , DCCC , Jerry McNerney

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