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GOP congressional hopefuls invading upcoming street fair
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With its close proximity to the California primary elections, the Crossroads Street Fair April 10-11 in downtown Manteca is shaping up to be a battleground for Republican congressional candidates hoping to get the chance to unseat 11th district Representative Jerry McNerney in November.

Scheduled to appear at the local Republican Party booth at the fair are hopefuls Brad Goehring and Tony Amador of Lodi, as well as former candidate Jeff Takada who threw his support behind Elizabeth Emken when announcing that he was ending his campaign.

And taking back what was initially considered a Republican-friendly district when the lines were redrawn under then-Representative Richard Pombo is something that the party isn’t taking lightly.

On Tuesday, Emken announced that former U.S. Representative and Senator Rick Santorum – a member of the “Gang of Seven” elected in 1990 that were swept into power during the Republican Revolution of 1994 – was backing her candidacy. The two collaborated to pass the Combating Autism Act of 2006 when Emken was the Vice President of Government Relations for Autism Speaks.

“I am honored to receive Senator Santorum’s endorsement,” Emken said in a press release announcing the endorsement. “The Senator has long been an advocate for the founding principles of our country, and for the rights of all Americans as guaranteed by our Constitution.”

Fellow San Ramon resident and 11th congressional district candidate David Harmer also landed a big endorsement on Tuesday.

Former Republican Governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced he was backing Harmer in the race – adding to a growing list of endorsements that includes McNerney’s 2008 opponent Dean Andal and Northern California Representative Wally Herger.

Harmer received money from Romney’s “Free and Strong America” Political Action Committee when he qualified for a runoff election against former Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi in California’s 10th congressional district in November.

Tuesday also marked the last day for fundraising before the first campaign contribution reports have to be filed.

Lodi resident Robert Beadles is also running for McNerney’s seat – squaring off with Goehring during a candidate’s forum sponsored by the San Joaquin Republicans earlier this year.

The Crossroads Street Fair has been a launching point for campaigns in the past when local politicians have taken out booths to introduce themselves to the public they hope to be representing.

Historically, San Joaquin County Republicans and Democrats have each maintained a booth and distributed campaign literature as well as yard signs during campaign years.