AMA Galvanizes Voters in Key Congressional Race in CA
By Hazem Kira

Tracy, CA: The Bay Area Chapter of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) held a final-push-planning-meeting with Dr. Jerry McNerney, Democratic Congressional candidate in California’s 11th Congressional Dist, to organize “above 70 percent voter turnout”. The meeting was attended by activists from Pleasanton, Danville, Dublin, Tracy, Stockton and Lodi, cities that house the majority of Dist 11 voters.
The outcome of Dist 11 election could have an impact beyond the district. The importance of this nationally-monitored race can be judged by the fact that the Vice President Dick Chaney and President George Bush have visited this rural district to shore up support for the Republican candidate Richard Pombo, who given his negative evaluation by voter’s groups, is seen weak and vulnerable.
Moreover, in an unprecedented move, Pete McCloskey, a nationally known Republican, who ran against Pombo in the Republican primary, has endorsed the Democratic Candidate Jerry McNerney, and has asked his own Republican supporter, roughly 30 percent of the registered Republicans in the District, to support Jerry McNerney.
Led by a coalition of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), both Muslim and Latino communities are organizing major Nov 7 mobilization effort. The Latino-Muslim coalition has been working with Jerry McNerney to help restore civil liberties for all, plead for a fair immigration policy, and strengthen popular demands for improved education, ecology and economy.
Dr. Jerry McNerney, a mathematician and inventor-turned politician, who is trying to unseat Richard Pombo, told the audience that it was his son who had urged him to run for congress to help restore honesty in the government. “I want to help restore a government that is answerable to people”, he said. Regarding the war on Iraq he said: “As an occupying power, we have failed to protect the Iraqi people. Depending on who you listen to 30,000 to 600,000 Iraqis have been killed and Iraq is headed toward a full-fledged civil war which could result in breakup and destabilize the entire region.” Dr. McNerney called for a phased withdrawal in nine to twelve months.
Dr. McNerney also criticized the Bush administration for its reckless immigration policy and engaging in fear-mongering to abridge civil liberties for Muslims, Arabs and other communities.
Dr. Agha Saeed, National Chair, American Muslim Alliance, told the audience that our primary focus is on issues and not parties. “While the Democratic Party is ahead in the opinion polls which are based on sampling of all eligible voters, the November 7 election will be decided by less than 40 percent voters who will actually turn out to vote. Within this 40 percent, the Democratic margin of victory is much smaller than in the generalized population. The Dist 11 election will be won by the candidate who has a better Get-Out-The-Vote network. Dr. McNerney needs 10, 000 new votes to win; we can supply 30 percent of that margin of victory by accepting personal responsibility for getting out 3, 000 votes”.
Later, Get-Out-The-Vote Committees were formed for Pleasanton, Dublin, Denville, Tracy, Manteca, Stockton and Lodi. AMA will coordinate these committees to set up phone-banking, precinct walking, and election-day transportation.
Dr. Saeed thanked Mr. Saifi Raniwala for organizing the meeting. He also expressed his appreciation for the useful work done by Rahman Samroo, Shabbir Khan, Taj Khan and Saif Khawaja. For more information contact AMA at (510) 299 – 9313


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.