Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will return to Washington for a third term — this time representing Davis and the new 3rd District — after beating upstart Republican Kim Vann.
In Davis’ most expensive congressional race to date, Garamendi collected 53.8 percent of the votes cast by mail or on Election Day. He topped Vann, a Colusa County supervisor, by 13,685 votes out of 178,859 cast.
Meeting with supporters in Davis, where he plans to establish his district headquarters, Garamendi said voters responded to his campaign’s “message standing for jobs, students, veterans and the delta.”
He said that he would work with Republicans, who retained control of the House, “to achieve the potential of this great nation and address the problems that we face. My legislative priorities are exactly what I campaigned on.”
He reiterated his campaign platform, including his “Make It in America” bill. It would require government contracts to use supplies and equipment no less than 85 percent made.
He also vowed to help protect Medicare, Social Security and higher education, as well as the farming, fishing and recreation of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Garamendi said he would work to preserve Travis and Beale Air Force bases, both of which are in the district, and “responsibly reduce the deficit.”
“It’s all about maintaining the promise of America where everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can get their slice of the American dream,” he said.
Garamendi’s advantages in Yolo County — particularly in Davis, where he received almost 80 percent of the vote — Solano and Lake counties gave him the win. Vann won her home county, as well the portions of Glenn, Lake, Yuba and Sacramento counties within the district.
In Garamendi, 67, Davis voters have representing them a politician with ample experience. He has served as lieutenant governor, insurance commissioner and in the state Assembly and Senate. He was U.S. deputy secretary of the interior under President Clinton. He now holds seats on the House Armed Services and Natural Resources committees.
Clinton gave Garamendi’s campaign a big boost by appearing with him at a UC Davis rally last month.
Garamendi credited Vann, 37, for running a tough campaign in the new 3rd District, which is 41.2 percent Democratic, 32 percent Republican and 21.6 percent decline-to-state. She hadn’t yet conceded early today, with the race was still in doubt past midnight.
Vann’s ability to fundraise and her success in securing support in the rural areas of the new district impressed two Republican and Democratic consultants who spoke with The Enterprise.
“She’s been an extraordinary first-time candidate,” the Republican said.
With support for the president drawing Democrats to the polls and no one major local issue for her to seize in her tussle with Garamendi, the odds were stacked against Vann, the consultants said.
“I expect her to be back in 2014,” the Democrat said.
* In the 6th Congressional District, which now extends to West Sacramento, incumbent Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, earned 74.4 percent of the vote to easily beat Republican Joseph McCray Sr., the founder of J.M. & Sons landscaping company in Fair Oaks.
* Davis’ longtime Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, won an eighth term in District 5. With 74.1 percent of the vote, he beat Republican Randy Loftin, who runs a tax and financial planning company in Napa.
— Reach Cory Golden at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden