Pleasanton man launches third-party bid to challenge Swalwell

St. John running as Independent; incumbent Democrat seeking 4th term

A Pleasanton resident with a professional background in marketing for the medical industry has announced he is running to represent San Ramon and the rest of the 15th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Brendan St. John, 49, will aim to oust incumbent U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) as an Independent during next year's election, saying he was inspired to seek office after being "fed up with the divisive rhetoric from both major political parties, and the ineffectiveness of our government."

"Our government is close to dysfunctional," St. John said in an email interview this week.

"It was clear to me that if things were going to improve it would require an outside-the-Beltway, 'average' person to be willing to step up," he added. "I was raised that if you don't like how something works, don't just complain or expect someone to fix it: Roll up your sleeves and fix it yourself."

St. John is the first candidate to publicly announce a bid to unseat Swalwell, a 36-year-old Democrat who is serving his third straight term in Congress.

Swalwell confirmed this week he will seek re-election next year, saying he remains more passionate than ever about the work he's doing on behalf of the 15th District.

"I have spent a lot of time these last few years visiting every corner of the Tri-Valley, where I grew up," he said by email. "It's where I get my best sense of how people are doing. While I'm hopeful for the future, it is also clear that more work is needed to expand opportunity for all Americans. That's why I'm running for re-election to Congress."

"My priorities in Congress continue to be the priorities that my constituents tell me are important: giving everyone a shot at prosperity, ensuring access to affordable health care, keeping seniors financially secure, providing good schools and useful skills to our kids, extending BART to Livermore and keeping the American dream within reach for every person in this country," Swalwell added.

Swalwell was a 31-year-old Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin City Council member when he successfully unseated incumbent and fellow Democrat Pete Stark in November 2012. Swalwell won re-election comfortably against little-known Republicans in 2014 and 2016.

Though St. John has already started his campaign to challenge Swalwell, prospective candidates can't officially enter the race until the nomination period opens in mid-February. The top two finishers in the June primary will face each other in a runoff election for the seat in November.

A 20-year Pleasanton resident and married father of three teenagers, St. John acknowledges -- and almost embraces -- running for Congress with no prior elected or government experience.

"That's been one of the most positively received aspects of my candidacy," according to St. John.

As for goals in office, St. John said his top priority would be to represent his constituents.

"District 15 deserves the full focus and effort from their representative in Washington. Currently we are not receiving this level of commitment," he said.

"If elected, I will serve all constituents within the district regardless of party affiliation," he added. "As a non-party representative, I will have no party bosses to appease regarding legislative votes, and I will be able to work with both sides to craft and support legislation important to our district."

In terms of nationwide issues, St. John said his priorities would include addressing the national debt, health care and immigration -- and he has plans laid out for each. Locally, he said he is "particularly passionate" about developing a new system to allow constituents to share their feedback quickly and securely.

"Getting things moving in the positive direction will take a different approach," he added. "Washington needs independent voices and representatives who want to bring Democrats and Republicans together. I will be one of those representatives."

St. John has lived in California since relocating as a young adult in 1990. He and wife Jessica moved to Pleasanton in 1997. They have a daughter in college, a son in high school and a son in middle school.

He holds a master's degree in marketing from Santa Clara University and his professional experience has been focused on marketing in the health care and medical device industries. He is also a volunteer leader with the Pleasanton Junior Football League and an active member of Canyon Creek Church in San Ramon.

In addition to San Ramon, the 15th Congressional District includes Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, Hayward, Union City, parts of Fremont and Danville, and the unincorporated areas of Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Sunol, Ashland, Cherryland and Fairview.

For more information on St. John, visit his campaign website.

For more information on Swalwell, visit his campaign website.


45 people like this
Posted by Greg T
a resident of Diablo
on Oct 11, 2017 at 7:15 am

He already has my vote.
Eric Swalwell needs to go. He has just become a Trump-bashing hack of the left. He doesn't represent us in this District, but is on some sort of crusade of the crazy Hillary type.

5 people like this
Posted by Louisa
a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2017 at 7:34 am

@Greg, I don’t believe Swalwell is your Representative for Diablo. You may want to double check this.

20 people like this
Posted by Constituent
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 11, 2017 at 7:54 am

We will continue to support Swalwell and are happy to do so. This year has been a mess and to have some “medical marketing” guy, with no experience in local government (even being on the PTA can give one a taste), will do nothing for our district, let alone D.C.

16 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 11, 2017 at 9:02 am

All Swalwell talk is guns, guns and more guns and if he is bored go on tv to trash president. What did he achieve to stop vegas?
Will vote any body except Swalwell.

7 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 11, 2017 at 10:15 am

Congress overall have a lower approval rating than a garden snail. They do not represent the people, but I hope he keeps bashing this lame duck president until he explode. Eric at lease represent most of my point of view. However, I am not risking my vote on a marketing/salesman without any government experience.

14 people like this
Posted by Indy
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 11, 2017 at 1:05 pm

I am an Independent and welcome opportunity to vote for St. John, a non-partisan, to help break the gridlock in Washington. I encourage all voters who are moderates to not vote for Swallwell, who seems to be a party first politician, and instead vote for a truly independent person who will put his constituents, not Nancy Pelosi or Donald Trump, first. We need more independents to get our country back to working together, which will never happen with Swallwell and Trump in a fight on partisan grounds. Santa Clara University also has an excellent MBA program, so this truly independent guy must be very bright. Good luck to him!

31 people like this
Posted by louie
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm

We need to get rid of professional politicians and elect someone who will represent the local people, not a political party.

He has my vote.

32 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Mr. St. John has my vote. Swalwell is a far left lapdog of Pelosi & Feinstein that does not represent me in any way.

20 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Danville
on Oct 13, 2017 at 7:51 am

I think the current (insert name here) Ca office holder is great!


The DNC, the teachers union, all public employee unions, the liberal media and the swamp.

15 people like this
Posted by The Swamp
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 16, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Tom, the Swamp agrees 100%!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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