March 12

My inbox cries out for mercy.

There have been only three business days in the past four weeks on which Mark DeSaulnier has not announced another endorsement in his bid to succeed Rep. George Miller in the 11th Congressional District.

Better safe than sorry? Sure, the Democratic state senator from Concord thought he had punched his ticket to Washington in 2009 when Rep. Ellen Tauscher resigned to take a State Department post; despite having Tauscher's and Miller's endorsements, he lost that special election to fellow Democrat John Garamendi.

So ever since announcing his candidacy for this seat even as Miller was announcing his retirement, DeSaulnier has sought to flood the field. And those first few days of endorsements were important, as they included support from several people who were thought to be possible rivals for the seat, and from Miller himself.

Since then, other candidates have emerged: retired immigration Judge Tue Phan, of Danville; disability rights and employment advocate Cheryl Sudduth, of El Sobrante; oil refinery employee Jason Ramey, of Concord; Alameda Councilman Tony Daysog; and attorney Ki Ingersol, of Benicia.

The first is a Republican and the latter four are Democrats; Daysog and Ingersol live outside the district, though that's no barrier to candidacy.


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So DeSaulnier has kept cranking out the endorsements -- other Democrats, labor unions and many other non-surprises.

Today's might take the head-scratching record: "Former Massachusetts Governor and Democratic Presidential Nominee Mike Dukakis Endorses Mark DeSaulnier for Congress."

Sure, some people remember Dukakis' name, short as the American political memory might be, but how many votes will this sway in the 11th District, or how many rivals will it intimidate? Whatever. I'll stand by for Walter Mondale to weigh in.

March 13

Fresh from his second consecutive win in the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul will be in the Bay Area next week to raise funds and speak to students about government surveillance's intrusion on liberty.

The junior U.S. senator from Kentucky has fundraising events this morning at the Olympic Club of San Francisco. First comes a round-table breakfast hosted by cardiologist Dr. Michel Accad; 2012 congressional candidate Dr. Wayne Iverson, of San Diego; and John Dennis, a Republican now posing his third consecutive challenge to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; tickets for that cost $500 to $2,500. Later this morning, contributors will pay $500 each for a private meet-and-greet with Paul, hosted by Dennis and investor Robert Leppo.

Then, on Wednesday, Paul will address the Berkeley Forum -- a nonpartisan, student-run group at UC Berkeley -- about domestic security, the NSA's collection of telephone metadata, and the public debate regarding privacy and its constitutional implications. The 3 p.m. event is free for Cal students and faculty, $15 for the general public; tickets are available at http://forum.berkeley.edu/Rand-Paul.