by David Nir
Leading Off:• CA-15: Long-time Dem Rep. Pete Stark has a reputation for saying irascible, even downright offensive things, but seeing as he’s served for forty years without interruption in a safely blue district, he’s never paid a political price. That, however, might change. At a candidate forum earlier in the week, Stark leveled some wild, apparently baseless charges at his Democratic opponent, Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell, accusing him of taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” from a developer—prompting the moderator to admonish him a second time for making personal attacks. (Stark earlier called Swalwell a “pipsqueak” and a “junior leaguer” and referred to one of his statements as “bullshit.”) Stark also accused Swalwell of failing to vote in recent local elections, which turned out to be a total fabrication.
But it didn’t stop there: As the two men went to shake hands after the event, Swalwell says Stark called him a “fucking crook” and a “slimeball” and said, “you’re going to jail.” Swalwell’s campaign has since demanded proof from Stark about the bribery allegations, though of course Stark has refused to respond. I guess he’s just never cared about looking like a crazy, out-of-touch old man who just makes shit up. But he’s also never really had a serious opponent before, and like I say, his nonsense may finally cost him….