This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.

May 7

It'll be my honor to moderate the Commonwealth Club of California's "Midterm Election Forecast: Politics in 2014" next Monday, May 12, featuring former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former California Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim.

Check-in starts at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 program at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Hall, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd.; tickets cost $15 for club members, $25 for nonmembers and $10 for students with valid ID. Tickets are available at www.commonwealthclub.org.

"Join our political pundits as they make predictions for this fall and discuss the key questions regarding this year's race," the club's promo says. "Who are the major political players to watch? What does the political landscape look like just six months from Election Day? Will the Republicans win back the Senate? How might the rest of President Obama's presidency look following this November?"

The participants and I have been swapping ideas on what to cover, and I can tell you confidently that it'll be a lively program. Hope to see you there.

May 9

Rep. Eric Swalwell "is working to buy his re-election with taxpayer funds," his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Ellen Corbett, claimed Friday.


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Corbett provided an analysis of congressional office spending by Swalwell, D-Dublin, that shows he spent nearly $191,000 on taxpayer-funded informational mailers in 2013 -- about four times more than the other nine Bay Area House members combined. The figures don't include the first quarter of this year, in which Swalwell spent more on official mailers.

"This is an outrageous abuse and far, far in excess of anything Swalwell needed to do to provide useful services to the people he serves," Corbett, D-San Leandro, said in a statement issued Friday. "Voters deserve a representative with a less cavalier attitude about how their tax dollars should be spent."

Swalwell replied in an emailed statement Friday that since taking office, he has "received approximately 73,000 pieces of written mail, e-mail, and phone calls. Our office responds to every person who contacts us, often times with a written, mailed response.

"We have also sent our constituents letters asking for feedback on federal issues, alerting them to services that our office can provide, and informing them of upcoming town halls (we have hosted 14, the most of any Bay Area representative)," he said. "The investment in this correspondence has paid off: through our outreach, we have helped over 1,100 constituents with federal agencies, including returning nearly $1 million to in-district veterans, and saving or returning $100,000 to individuals owed money by Social Security, Medicare, or other agencies. I'm also proud that we did this within our allotted office budget."

The third candidate in the 15th Congressional District race is Republican Hugh Bussell, of Livermore.