Sunday, October 30, 2005

Margee Ensign likely to enter race

POSTED BY Scott Restivo,

I met with Margee Ensign yesterday, and she indicated it is "very likely" she will enter the race for the 11th Congressional District of California. She plans to form an exploratory commission in the next week or so, and then formally announce by Nov. 17th. Of course, nothing is official until it's official. But from my talk with her, she wants to run and is taking the necessary steps to formally enter the race.

Margee Ensign is Dean of the School of International Studies at the University of Pacific in Stockton. She has big name recognition and respect in the Valley. She is an accomplished woman, very bright, energetic, and intelligent. She is on top of the issues locally, nationally, and internationally in ways that I have not seen in the other candidates, or even Pombo for that matter.

My opinion has always been that a successful candidate must come out of the Central Valley. A strong candidate must be known as someone who has contributed to and worked hard for the Stockton area community. Ensign, as Dean, has certainly done this. Her work at the International Studies institute has benefited Stockton. She has been actively involved in the community. Also, she writes a column in the Stockton Record, plus hosts a cable TV show, " The Real Reality", through the Peace and Justice Network of San Joaquin (

She presented me with some real concerns about the Valley -- high poverty, high infant mortality, air pollution, degraded water quality, high asthma rates, poor educational system, lack of high-end jobs.

And my sense is that these are not some campaign consultant's suggestions, derived after polling. These are not soundbites she concocted to win votes. Instead, I see that her concern for the Valley comes out of her heart, as a mother, as a citizen, as a community leader, and as a person living there. She sincerely cares about the people of the Valley and the quality of life there. That was my sense in talking with her, and I think when others hear her speak, they will feel this too.

I believe she could inspire voters both old and young with a positive vision for the Valley's future. An energizing, inspiring candidate is something I have not yet seen in this race, and why it has been so lackluster. I have worked with Jerry McNerney, I have heard Steve Filson speak, but, with all due respect, they are not in the same league.

Both Filson and McNerney also lack the strong Central Valley connections and presence.

In short, my take is that Margee Ensign cares about the community, is involved in it, and has a passion to make it better. She has the professional qualifications and experience to run for Congress. And she has the strongest potential of anyone I have seen so far to present a positive view of the Valley's future, to inspire voters, and to beat Pombo.

Friends, if she does officially enter the race, we will have a contender!

Scott R.

PS: She is speaking at Diablo Valley College on Nov. 17th, I believe, as well as making another East Bay appearance soon. I will send/post details once I hear more on these appearances.


Blogger Dan Spomer said...

Great. Wonderful. A three-way primary. I can hear Pombo chortling already...

Sigh... why are Dems always their own worst enemy? As someone who wants to contribute from out-of-district, I believe I'll wait until the political bloodletting subsides before sending the cash.

9:45 AM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger VPO said...

Don't worry, the primary is in June. I think it is very likely the field will be reduced two, if not one, by then. When Margee enters, others will have to seriously reconsider their prospects, and that will change things considerably.

9:50 AM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger Matt said...

I'm still not convinced that a primary will be a bad thing for the Democrats. Remember, at this time in the last cycle nobody was running against Pombo and the Democratic establishment was preparing to give Pombo a by.

A primary will force the candidates, all of whom are relatively inexperienced, to get their act together and really fight for the nomination. And as long as the winner of the primary does not go nuclear on his or her Democratic opponents (or otherwise operate in an unethical manner), winning will have the effect of legitimizing his or her candidacy as the proper vehicle for the anti-Pombo efforts.

But I also do agree with VPO that some of this will probably be decided before June.

10:16 AM, October 30, 2005  
Anonymous Wes said...

vpo, thank you for the comments re: Ensign. I don't think that she is known at all in Santa Clara County. But then again, neither is Filson.

I was thinking about various political things this AM and came to the conclusion that there is a danger if the focus of being Anti-Pombo is only environmental.
While one may look at the NY Times and Sac Bee editorials this weekend with some sense of glee, they still allow Pombo to invoke the "I am just your neighbor who is being picked on by those radical environmentalist and their society liberal friends." If Pombo is to be defeated, that can not be allowed to happen.

That is why vpo's summary of Ensign's comments on local, connected to everyday life issues of the Valley tells me that if the DCCC continues to support only Filson, they are suffering from cranial - rectal dislocation.

5:48 PM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger Dan Spomer said...

The DCCC has made a career of suffering from cranial-rectal dislocation. The results speak for themselves.

What this race needs is someone to lock up not only the moderate left (not that difficult), but to make the crossover to the moderate Repubs that are sick of Pombo and ready for a change.

And I know of which I speak- here I am, an out-of-state Republican, begging you guys to get someone to cross over, forget the party line about gay rights, gun rights and the other yada yada, and speak his (or her) mind on the issues that affect ME.

So then, here I am: A moderate Republican with typical moderate Repub values. I'm on the fence and am not sure for whom to cast my vote.

I hesitate, I'm not sure which hole to punch out on my ballot, and those last few seconds... are oh... so... important...

Sell me on it. And win your district.

6:38 PM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger Joy Montgomery said...

Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties (alphabetical, not by any presumed importance) also deserve representation. I see Jerry McNerney's issues in your list of important issues. We might need someone to represent all of the people in CD-11, not just those in the Stockton area, as critical as their issues are.

Pombo's negative impact is felt throughout the United States. Let's get someone in his place whose positive impact will be felt throughout the United States. Jerry McNerney has solid ideas on freeing us from dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs in CD-11. Good jobs will help solve some of Stockton's problems.

8:16 PM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger VPO said...

Joy: Yes, Jerry does have some good ideas. I like the plan he has mentioned to develop an alternative energy industry along the 580/205 corridor out to Tracy and Stockton. (However, I cannot find this on his website. Is there a website or PDF or some link where I could check this plan out?)

Even with good ideas, the issue is how well his campaign can convey his positions out to the voters. How strong a candidacy can he run, how viable? It takes more than good ideas, it takes the ability to organize and motivate, to energize and inspire, to connect with the people of the district, and it is all done in the context of who else is running.

And yes, of course you are right that a candidate should represent the whole district, not just the area with the most population. The point I am making about Margee Ensign is that she is well-known and respected in the most populous areas of the district (2/3 of the voters are in her area). Jerry and Steve Filson are barely even known in their hometowns, let alone throughout the district. Granted, Jerry's name was on the ballot in 2004, so he has more recognition than Filson's next-to-negligible. But for both of them, the recognition, such as it is, is not for service to the community and inspiring leadership, but as part of political campaigns.

Ensign can step up and say she holds a position of leadership at one of the major institutions in Stockton, the University of the Pacific. She is involved with the community there, and her name recognition is not solely as a result of the 2004 election.

In my estimation, that makes quite a bit of difference.

10:13 PM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger Matt said...

I got this comment via e-mail and since it's a new take on things, I'm posting it here:

I think the DCCC is supporting Filson because they don't want him to win. And becuase Jery has such strong grassroots support they want to scare him off and leave the field only to Filson to lose.

The reason why is that in 2008 Mike Machado can run for this seat and he has been seen around the
district doing things that someone that is termed out should not be doing.

I believe the DCCC is putting in a FILLER that it is confident will lose and really has its eye on Machado running and winning in 2008.

12:17 PM, October 31, 2005  

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