Lt. Gov. John Garamendi has been everything from assemblyman to insurance commissioner to former President Bill Clinton's deputy interior secretary during his 35 years in public service.
If the prevailing political wisdom is correct, the 64-year-old Democratic veteran could add U.S. congressman to his résumé by Tuesday night.
Garamendi is considered the clear front-runner in the race to fill the 10th Congressional District seat left vacant in June by Ellen Tauscher, who became the State Department's undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs.
Democrats make up 47 percent of the district's registered voters compared with the 29 percent of voters who are Republicans. The district is centered in Alameda and Contra Costa counties but touches parts of Sacramento and Solano counties.
Garamendi, who lives just outside the district, is also one of the state's most well-known politicians. His Republican challenger, businessman David Harmer, is remembered mainly for his father, who was a state senator and lieutenant governor.
A Garamendi win Tuesday could have national significance as an exception to the tough elections other Democrats are facing in New Jersey, New York and Virginia.
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