Poll sparks talk of Speier vs. Lantos 

A recent telephone poll has prompted rumors of a run by former state Sen. Jackie Speier against longtime congressional incumbent Tom Lantos.

Such a race, if it occurred, would match two of the county’s political powerhouses against each other in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign. It would also probably be Lantos’ most competitive race since he was first elected in 1980, when he defeated incumbent Republican Bill Royer 46 percent to 43 percent.

Speier, the county’s recently termed-out state senator, lost in the June Democratic primary for lieutenant governor to John Garamendi by 3 percentage points.

Michael Murray, a San Mateo salesman, received the polling call last Thursday and said the questions involved Lantos, Speier, and Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-South San Francisco. San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill was also reportedly included in the call.

Murray, a Speier supporter, said he was asked if he was aware that Lantos had been "hawkish" when the Iraq war began. Lantos more recently has been critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the war.

"The questions led me to believe that it was Jackie polling to see if this thing would actually be feasible to run," Murray said.

Christine Krolik, Speier’s finance director for the lieutenant governor campaign, said the campaign didn’t commission the poll. She did note, however, that the campaign recently held a fundraiser in Hillsborough with roughly 250 attendees to help Speier pay down $40,000 in campaign debt.

"People [at the fundraiser] made it very clear that there was a lot of support for whatever she wants to do next," Krolik said.

The fundraiser did leave the campaign with a small surplus, but Speier has not made any decisions about whether she will run again for public office or for what she would run, Krolik said.

Lantos spokeswoman Lynne Weil said the San Mateo Democrat’s campaign didn’t commission the poll, adding that not just anybody would conduct a poll such as that.

Mullin didn’t ask for the poll, according to his son and frequent spokesman Kevin, of KM2 Communications. Hill also denied responsibility.

Hill is running against San Mateo County Community College District Board member Richard Holober — who also said he didn’t commission the poll — for Mullin’s seat in the Assembly. Millbrae City Council-woman Gina Papan, who lost to Mullin in 2002, is also considering a bid to take Mullin’s seat when he is termed out in 2008.

Former County Supervisor Mike Nevin said he was not interested in running for Mullin’s seat.


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