One of the more interesting aspects of the CD-10 Special Election race was the surprise candidacy of Joan Buchanan just months after her hard fought win for the 15th Assembly seat previously held by Republicans.
That Assembly race attracted Democrats from neighboring districts who answered the call to help in the effort to take the last bastion of the GOP in the Bay Area. With the entrance of John Garamendi, Buchanan dropped behind California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (SD-07), and stayed in that position, finishing a distant third in the open primary.
In the course of the most expensive primary the Democrats have ever run in CD-10 (spending almost $2 million) Buchanan put up an astounding $850,000 of her own money! To outside observers Democratic tensions appeared to open fissures in the party ranks. Even the leading Republican candidate David Harmer, commented that he would pick up disenchanted Democrats. Nevertheless, as soon as the primary was over, in a series of “Unity Walks-Talks and Forums” the Diablo Democrats came together to focus on beating the Republicans like a drum once again.
The question though lingered if there would be any negative fallout or retaliation against Joan for challenging DeSaulnier early and ruffling feathers of her partisan leadership in Sacramento, not to mention conventional wisdom? If the Republicans were expecting some dire punsihment they will be most disappointed by the recent notices coming out from the various Democratic boards and clubs in the Valley already calling for support for Joan’s 2010 relection campaign in a rematch v San Ramon Mayor, Republican Abram WIlson.
As for the amount of money spent, as several of her opponents commented after the race, the effort did raise her name recognition throughout the district. That name ID will help sustain Buchanan’s re-election campaign in 2010, in what will prove to be another tough year for California.