The Republican race to unseat Rep. Jerry McNerney in Congress is growing clearer.
Out of the race are Robert Beadles of Lodi and Jeff Takada of Manteca.
And today, Takada will become the first GOP primary candidate to endorse a former rival.
According to Frank Aquila, the head of the South County San Joaquin Republicans, Takada will throw his weight behind Elizabeth Emken at 4 p.m. in front of Manteca City Hall.
Aquila told me that Takada, after considering carefully which candidate to endorse following his early exit, thought Emken was going to be the best candidate to tackle McNerney.
Also, Aquila related, Takada thought Emken's stance on water issues — against a peripheral canal and in favor of new water recycling programs — were most closely aligned with his own stance on water, Takada's big issue.
As for Emken's candidacy, the GOP operative says she could mount a serious challenge to McNerney if she gets past her other Republican rivals: "I think she's going to create a lot of problems for McNerney," Aquila said. "She's not a cardboard cutout. She's a real down-to-earth person."
UPDATE/CORRECTION: It appears that Takada isn't the first 11th District challenger to lend support to a former foe. Larry Pegram dropped out of the race all the way back in January and gave his endorsement to David Harmer.
Harmer is still in the race, along with Emken.
Also still vying for the chance to unseat McNerney are Tony Amador and Brad Goehring.