Ami Bera connects with people. He is smart, personable, has local support and recognition in Congressional District Three of California. He has made Dan Lungren’s ethical lapses and lack of response to the needs of his constituents the center piece of his campaign. It is not hard to tar Lungren with the brush of incompetence and dishonesty. All one has to do is state the facts.
Bera hits Lungren for "double dipping" in taxpayer money by accepting both a Congressional salary and a pension from the state. He also knocks Lungren for accepting a 25 percent pay raise just before leaving the attorney general’s office, which increased his annual pension.
Bera also frequently points out how Lungren has ignored the needs constituents of the 3rd Congressional District. Even though California has the third highest unemployment rating in the country, and the Sacramento area was one of the hardest hit regions during the housing crash and jobless recovery, Lungren voted against extending unemployment insurance, against raising the minimum wage, and against measures to increase hiring of teachers, firefighters and policemen. . . .
Lungren also has been a big supporter of the oil industry. He is in favor of offshore drilling in California. Lungren has voted for $2.6 billion in tax breaks for the oil industry, for more offshore drilling and for tax loopholes for the industry.
The Bera Campaign has put together a website dedicated to the vacations and contributions given to Dan Lungren by lobbyists.
Bera has pledged not to privatize or cut social security. He knows that the health care reform act needs to be strengthened and changed. He believes that Congress should not give themselves pay raises until the deficit is under control. He supports gay marriage and is pro-choice. He supports tax cuts for the middle class but not for the wealthy. He believes that children should not be taught to "the test" but should be taught critical thinking skills. He is an advocate of "pay-go".
Here is the quote from his website concerning Afghanistan:
Afghanistan: Articulate a clear objective to end the mission. In the midst of a recession at home, we need the President to articulate a clear objective for our mission before we commit more resources to this conflict. Our brave service members have done an incredible job under unimaginable conditions. We need to support our troops by defining metrics that lead to finishing the job. In order to ensure that Afghanistan will never again be a safe haven for al Qaeda, we need to be both smart and tough in combating this threat – for instance, intelligence operations may be better suited to combating al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The way to Bera’s run for Congress was paved by Bill Durston. Durston ran against Lungren in ’06 and ’08. Each time Durston came closer to taking out Lungren in a district that has a slight majority of republican voters. Dan Lungren has a bloated ego so I am not sure how seriously he took this challenge. In the 2008 race 44% went to Durston and 49.4% went to Lungren. The Peace and Freedom Party ran a spoiler candidate that guaranteed a Lungren success.
Ami Bera has artfully taken the baton from Bill Durston and is effectively running a campaign that could well send Dan Lungren packing back to Southern California. (Lungren is considered a carpetbagger who moved to District 3 just to run. He is from Long Beach, CA.) He has out raised Lungren in contributions and has as a strong, well thought out, intern driven campaign.
Congressional Quarterly Politics changed its rating of the 3rd Congressional District contest from "leans Republican" to a "tossup" on September 21st, saying "there appears to be little doubt that (incumbent Rep. Dan) Lungren will have to fight to hold his seat."
I am personally very disappointed in the Obama administration and the Democrats. But my distaste for Dan Lungren and the damage he has done to California and to my neighborhood overrides this despair. Ami Bera can take down Lungren and I am not going to let my overt hostility to the Democratic party machine stand in the way of electing a good man who will do a good job.
Ami Bera is an internal medicine doctor who served as Associate Dean of UC Davis School of Medicine and was the former Chief Medical Officer for the County of Sacramento. He is married to Janine Bera and has a twelve year old daughter, Sydra.