|Republican Congressman Dan Lungren (left) meets with and delivers a pep talk to precinct walkers in front of the shuttered Bel Air store on Elk Grove Blvd. Saturday morning.|
|Dr. Ami Bera (right) chats with supporters Martha Torres-Montoya and Bob Montoya at Elk Grove's Multi Cultural Festival.|
For a congressional race that has drawn national attention, both candidates for California's hotly contested 3rd Congressional District race reaffirmed yesterday the late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil's time-tested adage that politics is indeed local.
Lungren, who is engaged in perhaps his toughest fight of a long congressional career that sandwiches an eight year tenure as California's Attorney General, met with several supporters who gathered to walk precincts in perhaps the most crucial battleground of the Third Congressional District, Elk Grove.
Meeting in the parking lot of the shuttered Bel Air store on Elk Grove Blvd. before the precinct walk that the congressman participated in, Lungren urged his volunteers not to engage in any arguments and to keep all encounters civil.
"We have to engage people to vote," Lungren said. "It is going to be a difficult task in California."
Lungren also noted the urgency of turning out Republican voters not only on the national level, but on the state level as state Democrats are aiming to reach a two-thirds majority in the California Assembly. To that end, the precinct walkers were given literature for Republican Tony Amador who is challenging Democratic incumbent Dr. Richard Pan for California's Ninth Assembly District.
Lungren also told the walkers that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said the Democrats path to taking back the Congress runs through California. "I know you that you don't want to disappoint her," he quipped.
According to Lungren's Elk Grove volunteer coordinator Nick Birtell the walkers were hoping to make about 1,500 contact in the older central part of Elk Grove. Cosumnes Community District Director Michelle Orrock was one of volunteer walkers.
Dale Rusell, a retired civil servant, said this precinct walk was the first time he has volunteered on a political campaign and that he was happy to come out and support Lungren's reelection bid. "I think he is a good fellow," he said.
While Lungren walked precincts, his Democratic challenger Dr. Ami Bera visited Elk Grove's Multi Cultural Festival held at the Elk Grove Regional Park on Saturday. Bera, who came up short in his 2010 challenge to Lungren said he was very encouraged by the support he heard from voters he spoke with.
One supporter Bera encountered was Dr. Bob Montoya and his wife Martha Torres-Montoya. Dr. Montoya said he knew Bera from his time as an instructor at the UC Davis Medical School and is impressed with Bera's grasp on a variety of issues from health care to small business development.
"He is the best candidate for the job," Dr. Montoya said. "He is committed to the quality of people's life's"
Bera said he heard many concerns expressed by voters and was happy to see that people are engaging in meaningful conversations with him on numerous issues.
"That is what elections should be about," Bera said. "That is why we are here today."