By Christopher Cadelago
Former President Bill Clinton will return to the Sacramento region Wednesday to headline a rally for Democratic congressmen running in a pair of closely watched contests.
Clinton is scheduled to appear with Democratic Reps. Ami Bera of Elk Grove and John Garamendi of Walnut Grove at the 12:30 p.m. event on the campus of the University of California, Davis. The former president attended a similar rally on behalf of Bera, Garamendi and others on the same campus in 2012.
Clinton has emerged as an energetic and trusted surrogate for Democrats nervous about low turnout in the Nov. 4 midterm elections and weary about being shackled to President Barack Obama’s sagging approval ratings.
Bera is in another tough fight for the suburban Sacramento seat, this time with former Republican Rep. Doug Ose, a businessman who served six years in Congress until 2005, when he stepped down to honor a term-limit pledge.
The 7th district contest, characterized by sharp partisan attacks that have blanketed television, radio and mailboxes, is among the most expensive House races in the nation, with more than $10.5 million spent to date.
Garamendi, a veteran California elected official who served as Clinton’s deputy secretary of the interior from 1995 to 1998, is being challenged by Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Marysville, in a rematch of the June primary.
Despite raising more than $700,000 and loaning his campaign another $785,000, outside groups have so far refrained from spending any money to help Logue in the district covering areas north and west of Sacramento County.