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Butter the popcorn and get ready for some interesting viewing: Potential rivals for an East Bay House seat will share the podium at a Democratic Party event next month in Hayward.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer -- who's had a tough year of his own -- is scheduled to keynote the Eden Area United Democratic Campaign's annual St. Patrick's Day dinner, but Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, and state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, are among the other speakers.
Then-Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, was among the speakers at last year's dinner, and he had the Eden Area UDC's support in last year's 15th Congressional District election; his campaign manager even worked out of the UDC's office in Hayward for a while. Swalwell succeeded in unseating Stark, after Corbett -- along with former Obama administration official Ro Khanna -- declined to challenge Stark.
Khanna is now considering a 2014 run for the 17th Congressional District seat now held by Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose. But Corbett, who is term-limited out of the state Senate in 2014, has left open the possibility that she'll challenge Swalwell: "I would be honored to serve in Congress, but it's too early to discuss 2014," she said in November.
So Swalwell will be addressing a roomful of people who just months ago were working hard to defeat him, and he'll share the podium with someone who might challenge him next year. Fun for everyone!
The event is scheduled for 5:30 to 9 p.m. on March 21 in the Carpenters union hall on Mattox Road in Hayward; tickets are available online.
Pete Stark says he's planning to move back to the Bay Area.
The former congressman said Friday afternoon that once his son heads off to Yale University later this year and he and his wife, Deborah, can make school arrangements for their 11-year-old twins, they'll be seeking a place to live in the East Bay.
Stark, 81 -- who served the East Bay in the House for 40 years before being unseated in November by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell -- has made his family's home in Maryland, though he maintained a residence here and is registered to vote at his in-laws' home in San Lorenzo.
"Our interest is in using what's left of my campaign funds and our foundation money to see what we can do about working in the area of children's groups, whether it's for child care or homes for children who are abused," Stark said. "We're looking forward to coming back and being active in that arena.
"It's going to take me a while to get used to not having the perks of a staff -- being a congressman for 40 years had spoiled me, and the return to citizenry is hard," he said. "But my shuffleboard game is getting good."
UPDATE @ 3:03 P.M. FRIDAY: Just saw this tweet from Glen Fuller of Orinda, whose wife, Sharon Fuller, is Swalwell's district director: "Deborah Stark 2014?" Hmm.