At 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 3, with 99% of precincts reporting, we led by
23 votes. Counting was stalled, so I went to bed. When I awoke two hours later,
we trailed by 121 votes -- making ours, at that time, the closest of any race for
the House or Senate anywhere in the nation.
As the counting of absentee and provisional ballots continued, the gap gradually
grew. But not until three weeks after the election, just before Thanksgiving, did
the Associated Press call the race. It was the second-to-last House race in the
nation to be called.
And not until four weeks after the election -- this past Tuesday -- did we have
a complete count of all ballots cast. The final results:
Jerry McNerney (Dem)
David Harmer (Rep)
David Christensen (AI)
The campaign team remains concerned about some aspects of the voting and counting
processes. A future message will outline those concerns and offer recommendations
for improvement. But the incumbent's margin is large enough to make a recount unlikely
to change the result, and the precinct-level data do not display the sort of anomalies
that would justify a challenge.
Accordingly, I have called Congressman McNerney to congratulate him on winning the
election and to wish him well in his continued service. He accepted the call graciously
and we had a cordial conversation.
Some people wonder why I waited so long; others will wonder why I threw in the towel.
Perhaps a few explanations are in order.
Having invested nearly two years of full-time and uncompensated effort in this endeavor,
I was ready for a verdict on November 2. I knew that the race would be close, but
I intended and expected to win. I was prepared and eager to serve.
On the other hand, had we clearly lost, my disappointment would have been tempered
by relief at returning to the normal routines of private life. What I hadn't anticipated
was neither of the above -- a month of uncertainty.
When you've given your all without attaining success, is any temptation more seductive
than to quit?
I can report firsthand that the Harmer family had already had enough. But we recognized
that the campaign wasn't ours alone; it belonged to everyone who had invested time,
money, reputation, or heart in it. I was a spokesman for tens of thousands of volunteers,
donors, and voters, the advocate of their views and values, and the trustee of their
political hopes. They merited my best efforts to ensure that their voices were heard
and their votes counted.
Among those urging me to hang in there was my friend Mick Mulvaney, who defeated
House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt in South Carolina. "I will be watching,"
he wrote. "I won my first race for office by 212 votes after 3 recounts and 1 lawsuit,
so I understand a little of what you are going through."
At New Member Orientation in Washington, D.C., I compared notes with others whose
elections were undecided. While I was there, Joe Walsh's race in Illinois was called
in his favor; a recount confirmed Renee Ellmers's win in North Carolina; Blake Farenthold
maintained his lead in Texas; and Ann Marie Buerkle extended hers in New York. Other
veterans of close races, like Steve Stivers of Ohio, encouraged me not to give up.
Not only did the Republican freshmen offer moral support, many of them contributed
generously to the recount fund. Key endorsers like Governor Mitt Romney did so as
well. Meanwhile, back at home, we had more volunteers than we could deploy to monitor
I offer my wholehearted thanks to each of them, and to everyone else who participated
in this enterprise, both before and after Election Day: the campaign co-chairs,
endorsers, event hosts, donors, volunteers, interns, and staff. I also thank the
reporters who covered the race and told our story.
Ours looked, felt, and behaved like a winning campaign. The enthusiasm and intensity
were on our side. But we were heavily outspent in the final stretch, and the barrage
of attack ads drove enough voters to the third party to prove decisive.
In a future message I'll give a more detailed report of our performance. Meanwhile,
please accept my appreciation for the confidence you've placed in me. It has been
an honor to serve as your nominee.
David Harmer is the Republican nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives from
California’s 11th District. His father, John Harmer, served as Lieutenant
Governor under Ronald Reagan. Early in his career, David took his expertise in constitutional
law to Pacific Legal Foundation, where he defended property rights and other freedoms.
David was also a Resident Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and his book on education
reform was published by the Cato Institute.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has named David a “Young
Gun”—the top status in their candidate rating system. This top-target
designation assures that the 11th District will be a national congressional battleground.