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Kossacks -- before cross-posting this from our blog, I just want to thank you for helping Jerry garner the Combined Netroots Endorsement as well as victories over dozens of excellent candidates in Sen. Russ Feingold's YearlyKos Progressive Patriots competition and DFA's 2006 Grassroots All-Star competition. Without your netroots support, those crucial steps on the path to taking down Richard Pombo in November would not have been possible. Thank you!

It's not often that lifelong Republicans endorse a Democrat in a congressional race that could change the balance of power in the House of Representatives. At Wednesday's press conference at McNerney headquarters, however, former Republican primary candidates Pete McCloskey and Tom Benigno decided to place their country above their party.

Communicating the frustration of so many patriotic Republicans who are troubled by Richard Pombo's corruption, McCloskey and Benigno told the assembled throng that they believe Jerry McNerney is ready to restore honesty, integrity and accountability to Washington.

Pics, quotes and action on the flip side...

"You know, I never really thought I'd be doing this. I've been a Republican for 57 years. My family have been Republicans for four generations," said McCloskey. "But I've concluded two things: Jerry McNerney is an honest man; Richard Pombo is not. I'm confident that Jerry McNerney is an honorable man who will vote his conscience."

Former Republican congressional candidate Tom Benigno announced his endorsement for Jerry as well and talked about what it means for two prominent Republicans to stand behind Jerry McNerney.

"I have been a Republican all of my life, but Richard Pombo and his leadership have lost touch with us, and it's time for the corruption to end," said Benigno. "I believe that this particular venue today -- Mr. McCloskey and I being here -- sends out a clear message to the people. I think the message is: we need change. We need change and I think the people are ready for it."

If you've been following this race, you already know that people are inspired by Jerry's campaign to take down Pombo and take back Congress. On Wednesday, Jerry demonstrated his commitment to make that change a reality in November.

"We now have a choice," said Jerry. "Do we want more of Richard Pombo protecting Big Oil or do you want to join me and start down a path that leads to energy independence and clean air? Do you want a congressman who continues to subsidize Big Oil or do you want someone who's going to stand up and demand that the oil companies actually pay their fair share?"

"Here in the 11th district, do we want to continue to send Richard Pombo to Washington to cut shady deals that make him and his powerful friends richer, or do we want to restore honesty, integrity and accountability to Congress?"

Good people -- Republicans and Democrats -- can disagree on many issues, but there's one thing we can all agree upon: the culture of corruption in Washington, D.C., has to end before it causes grave damage to our country.

That's why Pete McCloskey and Tom Benigno -- as well as Jerry's Democratic primary opponents Steve Filson and Steve Thomas -- have endorsed McNerney for Congress.

Just look at the following photos -- at the Republicans for McNerney press conference and at last month's Democratic Unity breakfast -- to see how united Republicans and Democrats are in electing Jerry McNerney so he can send Pombo packing.

2006 is likely to be a transformative year politically and you are at the epicenter of that momentous change. You can make taking down Pombo and taking back Congress a reality by telling your friends right now that a refreshing change is sweeping through California's 11th Congressional District.

When you ask them to subscribe to our newsletter, remember to say, as Kossack Land of Enchantment does so often with a striking visual in the comments to various Pombo-related diaries, that we ALL live in Richard Pombo's district! (Who coined that now-famous campaign slogan? None other than the brilliant Kossack Kid Oakland in a blog post last October).

Thank you for everything you are doing to help Jerry win in November!

Eden James
Grassroots/Netroots Director
McNerney for Congress

p.s. To defeat Pombo, Jerry needs your active support. Pete McCloskey and Tom Benigno are demonstrating great courage in standing up for Jerry against Pombo. It's important to remember, however, that YOU made it possible by helping Jerry win the Democratic primary, the DFA Grassroots All-Star competition, Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots YearlyKos competition, and the Combined Netroots Endorsement.

Now you can stand up for Jerry as well by making a contribution to Jerry at the Combined Netroots page on ActBlue.

Whether it's $5 or $500, your contribution will help Jerry take it to Pombo on the air (TV and radio) and on the ground (neighbor-to-neighbor organizing) as soon as possible!

Check out Jerry's bio at ActBlue:

Jerry McNerney is not just the next netroots candidate--he is also the next progressive movement candidate. Already, he has won the Democracy for America Grassroots All-Star voting, and three weeks ago his people-powered campaign comfortably defeated the DCCC backed candidate in a contested primary. He entered politics as part of the 50-state strategy, and because his son joined the Air Force after September 11th. Eschewing the politics of triangulation in favor of a progressive message, he is a wind energy expert who has a Ph.D. in math.

Please show your netroots love for Jerry now! (and read the first comment to this diary)

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Press conference photo credits: Ted Overman, Progressive MediaWorks

Originally posted to McNerneyforCongress on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 12:47 PM PDT.

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