SPOTLIGHT | CA-15

Don't Underestimate Eric Swalwell

He was just elected to a fourth House term but is pondering a run for president.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 17, 2017.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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Kyle Trygstad
Dec. 13, 2018, 7:43 a.m.

Some may question an East Bay congressman with the audacity to dip his toe in the deepest Democratic presidential pool in recent memory, but Eric Swalwell’s blend of ambition and political acumen shouldn’t be underestimated.

“I do see a path,” Swalwell said Wednesday on Morning Joe, as he prepares to make a couple of more stops in Iowa and New Hampshire over the next week.

Swalwell isn’t one to wait in line or be outworked. In 2012, while others opted to hold off a cycle until the incumbent retired, the local city councilman spotted weakness in 20-term Democrat Pete Stark and an opportunity with California’s new district lines and top-two primary—during which he’d run to a restaurant on his lunch break as an Alameda County prosecutor to make fundraising calls.

Whether or not Swalwell enters the crowded battle for the nomination when he announces his decision early in the new year, the exposure is at worst setting up the Nancy Pelosi ally and recently turned 38-year-old—who will be one of 46 House Democrats in his state when he begins a fourth term next year—for a future bid for higher office or move up in House leadership.

That could include putting him in contention for an appointment to replace Sen. Kamala Harris should she be elected president or a run for the seat of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is up again in 2024. Swalwell deferred to Harris in 2016, but his recent moves indicate he won’t do so again for anyone else.

-- Kyle Trygstad

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