In what was almost unthinkable a year ago, Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell appears to have defeated Rep. Pete Stark to become the congressman for the 15th Congressional District.
Swalwell leads with 52.8 percent of the vote to Stark's 47.2, with about 92 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
At about 11:50 p.m., Swalwell told his supporters he believes he is the winner of race.
A victory for the 31-year-old Swalwell would end the political career of Stark, one of the most influential Bay Area liberal political figures of the last 40 years.
"It was 11 years ago when I was an unpaid intern in Washington," Swalwell told over 100 supporters at the Deputy Sheriffs' Association of Alameda County in Pleasanton. "I worked at a gym in the morning and would give congressmen towels. At night, I worked at a restaurant and would often serve members of Congress. Now I look forward to working with them."
After taking oath in January, Swalwell will be the second youngest Democratic member of Congress. He will represent the newly drawn district, which stretches from San Ramon down to Fremont and east past Livermore.
His rise from the Dublin City Council to the U.S. House Representatives wasn't expected by many.
Most of the Democratic establishment, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama, backed 19-term congressman Stark in the race.
But Swalwell was able to take advantage of California's new top-two primary system, where the first and second place winners in the primary — no matter the political party — compete in the general election.
With Stark being one of the most liberal members of Congress, Swalwell likely was more appealing to conservative voters in the district.
Stark, 80, was also his own worse enemy at times in the campaign. He made unfounded accusations, including accusing Swalwell of bribery in a debate during the primary campaign. He later apologized for the claim.
In the General Election, Stark declined to debate.
Speaking to supporters on Tuesday, Swalwell emphasized that he will work across the aisle and tirelessly for his new constituents.
Stark's camp could not be reached for comment as of midnight. He reportedly did not return to the district for Election Day.498 of 541 Precincts Reporting
15th Congressional District Votes % Pete Stark (I) 70,401
Eric Swalwell 78,612
Source: California Secretary of State Website