PLEASANTON, Calif. — Running against the Vietnam War, Rep. Pete Stark entered Congress the year that Richard M. Nixon was re-elected president. Since then, ensconced in Democratic strongholds here in the Bay Area, Stark was easily re-elected 19 times. But Stark, 80, the dean of California’s congressional delegation, is facing a serious challenge for the first time. That is because Eric Swalwell, a fellow Democrat who became a city councilman less than two years ago in Dublin, his hometown near here, came just a few points behind Stark in the primary. Now Swalwell gets to carry the fight into November — thanks to a new primary system in California under which the top two vote getters advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Japan’s Defense Ministry ordered home its naval ships from the Indian Ocean on Thursday, ending for now a six-year mission in support of the war in Afghanistan that raised the nation’s military presence overseas but has recently drawn increasing criticism domestically.