05/08/2012 11:50 am ET

Pete Stark, Other Candidates Confuse Solyndra With Country, Car Manufacturer, Keystone XL Pipeline

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), the 20-term incumbent facing a surprisingly competitive race in California's 15th congressional district, drew headlines recently when he confused failed solar energy company Solyndra with the electric car company known as Tesla.

Upon being asked about the California-based solar firm in a recent interview with The San Francisco Chronicle Stark replied, "I wish I had enough expense allowance to get one of those new S's that Solyndra's going to make down there -- the electric car. They run $60,000 to $90,000."

He's not the only prominent candidate for office to make such a mistake.

Back in February, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney confused the defunct solar energy company with the Keystone XL oil pipeline, telling supporters in Atlanta, “My course for America is to become energy secure and to open up that Solyndra –- that, that pipeline, excuse me, the Keystone pipeline,” The Washington Post reported at the time.

Romney then went on to criticize the Obama administration's "crony capitalism," though months of investigations into Solyndra and other Department of Energy loans have failed to produce a smoking gun.

In December, hours after a GOP presidential debate in Des Moines, Rick Perry mistook the now-bankrupt solar panel maker for a small country, as he sought to tar the Obama administration's handling of government spending. "No greater example of it than this administration sending millions of dollars into the solar industry, and we lost that money," Perry said at the time. "I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solynda."

For Perry, the Solyndra-as-country comment was just one in a string of highly memorable campaign gaffes that helped put a lid on his ambitions for the presidency. Now some are worried that Stark, the 80-year-old irascible liberal who's served four decades in Congress, may suffer a similar fate in his quest to keep his seat.

The comment marks the latest development in a series of confounding assertions and unsubstantiated charges he has made in recent weeks.

Watch the video of Stark's Solyndra slip-up above.