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California: DeSaulnier Is First to Air TV Ad in Special

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D) will be the first candidate in the special election to replace former Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D) to air a TV ad, his campaign announced Monday.

DeSaulnier will run an ad highlighting his commitment to health care reform. The 30-second spot will begin airing today on cable stations throughout the 10th Congressional district.

“Health care for all — it’s time to get real,— a narrator says at the beginning of the spot, which features pictures of average citizens and, at times, DeSaulnier meeting with them. “Mark DeSaulnier is running for Congress to make health care affordable for everyone. He’ll work with President Obama to hold down medical costs.

In the crowded Sept. 1 all-party primary, DeSaulnier is one of three Democratic frontrunners, along with Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and state Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. If no one tops 50 percent of the vote, as expected, the top vote-getters from each party advance to a special election two months later.

The East Bay seat is vacant because Tauscher just took a high-level job at the State Department.

On Monday, the man Tauscher beat to win the 10th district seat in 1996, former Rep. Bill Baker (R), endorsed attorney David Harmer, who is widely seen as the strongest GOP candidate in the race.

“David Harmer is the only candidate I trust to protect taxpayers from higher taxes and to fight for a balanced budget,— Baker said in a statement.

Member Keeps His Issa on the Committee Ball

Long assumed to be eyeing the next political opportunity, Rep. Darrell Issa (R) told his local newspaper over the weekend that he is content to stay put — for now.

“My expectation is I’m going to be running for re-election in 2010,— Issa told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Since Issa burst on the political scene in 1998, running an unsuccessful self-funded bid for Senate, many political professionals have assumed he would make another run for statewide office. After winning his House seat in 2000, Issa largely funded the successful recall of then-Gov. Gray Davis (D) and briefly ran for the top job himself, eventually deferring to now-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).

Since then, the wealthy businessman has resisted entreaties to run for statewide office again. He became ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the beginning of this Congress, and that has offered him a national platform.

“If you’re given lemons, make lemonade, and I’ve got the best lemonade in town,— he told the Union-Tribune.

But the 55-year-old Congressman did say he now has one political goal: to become chairman of the committee in 2011.

“But that requires that [Republicans] pick up about 60 seats,— he conceded.

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