Richard Pombo in danger of losing House seat to Jerry McNerney

Rep. Richard Pombo (R), chair of the House Resources Committee and bugbear of the environmental community, is in a knock-down, drag-out fight to win an eighth term representing California’s 11th congressional district. Pombo has far more moolah than his Democratic challenger, Jerry McNerney, but the race is hardly in the bag. President Bush showed up at a Pombo fundraiser yesterday, indicating that rampant phoning, door-knocking, and blogging by various environmental groups on behalf of McNerney may be making the Republicans nervous. McNerney’s platform focuses on making the 11th district a renewable-energy hub; Pombo has spent much of his congressional career fighting to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and outer continental shelf, scale back the Endangered Species Act, and steer public lands and resources into private hands. A poll released Monday had McNerney up by two points, but that spread was within the margin of error. Pombo campaign manager Carl Fogliani pooh-poohed the results, sniffing, “They’re either polling in fantasy land or in Berkeley.”