“Garamendi is the man to beat,” said Antioch City Councilwoman Martha Parsons, who says she will endorse DeSaulnier. “It’s a special election, so you have to get out the vote, win name recognition. That gives Garamendi an advantage over Mark DeSaulnier.” “I think Garamendi will have an advantage,” said Craig Cheslog, a DeSaulnier backer who is president of the Lamorinda Democratic Club. “Anytime a statewide candidate runs for something, it shakes things up.” Garamendi has been a presence on the California political scene for more than three decades, beginning in 1974, when he won a seat in the state Assembly. He then spent 14 years in the state Senate before winning statewide positions as insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor. He launched a bid to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010 but left the race after polls showed him badly trailing his prospective Democratic rivals, Attorney General Jerry Brown, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
California Lt. Governer John Garamendi served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia in the 1960's. Read more.