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Brandon Shoemaker, a Republican running for the 31st Assembly District seat in 2010, is offering a Delta delicacy of sorts for supporters at an upcoming fundraiser.

An invite for the Oct. 3 event promises that Delta smelt appetizers will be served (Yes, we're serious!), alongside a robust meal of BBQ beef, rice pilaf, green beans and rolls.

We asked earlier how the campaign intended to cook the bite-sized fish, which were added to an endangered species list by the California Fish and Game Commission earlier this year.

Shoemaker responded this afternoon with a clarification that he doesn't intend to cook the endangered breed -- smelt fished in other locales is available for sale at his local grocer.

The store-bought smelt will be grilled or deep fried whole and served with a variety of dipping sauces, he said.

"It may not be appealing for some people to eat a fish, eyes, bones and gills and all, so there will be another decent appetizer for those people,' he added.

The inclusion of smelt on the menu is a reference to federal water pumping restrictions meant to protect the rare fish. Conservative groups have rallied against the limits, saying the feds have chosen fish over farmers.

"When we say fish are more important than the survival of human beings, that's a problem," Shoemaker said.

The event's tagline: "Sometimes the fish eats you, but in the end you get to eat the fish."

Thanks to our colleague Matt Weiser for pointing out the invite.

This post was updated at 4:30 p.m. with Shoemaker's response.
Photo credit: Randy Pench/Sacramento Bee.



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