Security was tight at the Claremont Resort and Spa on Thursday as Vice-President Joe Biden made an overnight visit.

The hotel was swarming with black-clad Secret Service officials. Cop cars from Berkeley and the Alameda County Sheriff’s office blocked the rear entrance and a mammoth mobile unit from Alameda County Bomb Squad stood sentry near the health club. Yet visitors were free to wander throughout the hotel grounds.

Claremont officials would not reveal who required all the security. (Perhaps they learned a lesson when word leaked out that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were staying at the Claremont.) But police officials did confirm that the mystery guest was Biden.

Why was he at the Claremont? Biden is in town to make a campaign stop in Oakland for Rep. Jerry McNerny, who is running for reelection in the 11th congressional district, which includes parts of Alameda County. It’s at noon 9 a.m., and then he flies down to Orange County to appear at another fundraiser, this one for Barbara Boxer. Biden is ramping up his campaign appearances as the midterm election grows nearer.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...