Legislative Choices on the Primary Ballot: Seats in Sacramento and Washingon, Representing San Diego
By Doug Porter
Congressman Darrell Issa is getting some attention for something besides hyperbolic press releases this week. In an op-ed in The Hill on Tuesday, he urged lawmakers to rally fellow Republicans against a common enemy: Clinton. This morning’s California Playbook from Politico quotes a tweet from GOP strategist (and former Issa mini-me) Kurt Bardella promoting the 49th district Congressman as a Vice Presidential pick for Donald Trump.
The mud-wrestling match likely to follow the affirmation of presumptive nominees Trump and Clinton does seem like a perfect fit for Issa, whose actions as the GOP’s chief inquisitor sparked many of the modern-day Hillary conspiracy theories making the rounds.
It’s my view that the only realistic path for Trump to win in November is to make US voters so disgusted with the political process that they simply stay home on election day. Given that the Donald has rejected spending money on data-driven efforts to target voters in favor of public rallies leading up to the general election, he’ll have to continually stir up controversies.
The only good news about a successful Trump/Issa general election campaign would be the ensuing vacancy in the House of Representatives.
With that bit of silliness out of the way, let’s take a look at the 73 people vying for the 14 opportunities to represent San Diego in Washington and Sacramento. Fortunately for voters, their ballots will present choices for a maximum of four legislative positions: US Senate, House of Representatives, California State Senate, and the California Assembly.
A Crowded Field for Senate
Thirty-four humans coughed up the $3,480 filing fee or submitted the 10,000 valid signatures to qualify for the primary ballot.The Los Angeles Times undertook to interview all of them, succeeding with only 21 candidates willing or able to share their views.
Most of the candidates we spoke with have never run for nor held public office before. Few thought they have a serious shot at becoming California’s next senator, but they saw the race as an opportunity to get publicity for themselves or an issue they care about. Some wanted to rail against the political establishment and bring some common sense from the common man to D.C. Almost all were surprised and disappointed that they have to share the ballot with 33 other people.
My personal favorite (in a snarky way) was Pamela Elizondo, environmental healing consultant and Green Party member, whose top three priorities involved pot, marijuana and freeing people jailed for pot.
I wrote up short profiles on the top 5 Democratic and Republican Senate candidates a few weeks back in the San Diego Free Press. Last night’s debate between those contenders, broadcast on KPBS, did little to change my assessment.
Attorney General Harris is the most liberal of the bunch, and perhaps being overly cautious. Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is a Blue Dog Democrat and sometimes a loose cannon.
Candidates Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim represent the Tea Party and traditional wings of the GOP. And Ron Unz is a wild card, breaking with party orthodoxy on issues like the minimum wage.
The candidate listings in this article are excerpted from a draft of the upcoming San Diego Free Press Progressive Voter Guide, to be published in the next 10 days or so.
The final version will include our endorsements in many contests. And yes, it’s proudly biased.
The links embedded in each candidate’s name will take you to websites with additional information about them. In some cases, you’ll see the Democrats endorsed multiple candidates as ‘acceptable.’
Endorsement Codes Key: Republicans 💀, Democrats ➕, Labor ⊕, Run Women Run Ϣ
United States Senator
(Barbara Boxer is retiring)
House of Representatives, by District
Comments: (See Darrell Issa comments above) I met Democrat Doug Applegate briefly earlier this year. I was impressed. Be sure to check his site out. In the not too distant future, changing demographics in this district will reset the political landscape.
Comments: This district is so Republican (+14) they don’t even care if the incumbent has been getting national publicity for spending campaign funds on all kinds of personal stuff. If Hunter was a Democrat, Darrell Issa would be investigating.
Apparently it’s okay because many voters in the 50th think they’re voting for Duncan’s father (who retired in 2009) and Junior was, after all, one of the first congressmen to come out in support of Donald Trump.
How bad is it? From the Daily Beast (Emphasis mine):
Hunter promised to comply with the FEC and repay the campaign. By April 11, he’d paid his campaign treasury $12,000, according to the Union-Tribune, for not only the video games and tuition but also for a garage door, an oral or facial surgery, and several unspecified expenses, including charges at a surf shop.
But since then, a long list of other illegal charges on Hunter’s campaign credit card have been reported by the Union-Tribune, prompting the question: When do a few little mix-ups start to look like an illegal conspiracy to bankroll a young family’s entire life at the expense of campaign donors?
In addition to the video games, tuition, oral or facial surgery, and surf shop fees, Hunter also used his campaign funds, according to the Union-Tribune, for 106 trips to the gas station, totaling $5,660; 16 visits to the fast-food chain Jack In the Box, for $297; 40 stops at various supermarkets like Trader Joe’s, for $6,819; $229 at the Tomorrowland gift shop at Disneyland; $1,569 in gas, electric, and water bills for his home (an illegal expense even though Hunter runs his campaign from his home); and a $216 “food/beverages” charge at a jewelry store in Italy that sells no ingestible goods.
Juan Vargas (D, Incumbent) ➕ ⊕
Juan Hidalgo [R] 💀
Juan “Charly” Mercado-Flores (D)
Carlos Sanchez [R]
Comments: This is the flip side to D50, with a 16 point Democratic advantage. Vargas came to this seat as part of planned succession following Bob Filner’s ill-fated fling as Mayor of San Diego. It’s been a hard road to Washington for Juan and most of the time he doesn’t forget his humble origins.
Scott Peters (D, Incumbent) ➕
Terry Reagan Allvord[R]
Jacquie Atkinson [R]
Mike Canada [R]
Denise Gitsham [R]
John Horst [R]
Comments: Not so long ago this was considered a swing district. Peters eeked out a victory over Carl DeMaio in 2014, and Republicans scrambled to find a strong candidate to run this year. They failed.
This is a good thing for Peters because he earned Labor’s enmity following a vote for the dreaded TPP trade deal. In an attempt to play centrist, he’s also has voted for financial interests over human interests (that would bankrupt Obamacare) and succumbed to anti-terrorism hysteria in voting for blocking Syrian refugees from coming to the US.
Comment: This is Congresswoman Davis’ seat for as long a she wants it. the district’s heavily Democratic tilt (D+10) and her willingness to support defense spending (lots of Gov’t contractors in the area) play well with the voters. Davis also voted for the TPP, knowing she didn’t need labor support to win reelection.
The California Legislature
The way things work in San Diego, there are Democratic seats and there are Republican seats in Sacramento. Not one of these seats is looking to be competitive. Look for the party endorsement and you’ll know who’s likely to win.
Senate, District 39
Toni Atkins (D) ➕ ⊕ Ϣ
Richard M. Fago [R]
John Renison [R]
Comment: There is no GOP endorsement in this race, and if there was one it wouldn’t matter. Coming off her stint as Speaker of the Assembly, Toni Atkins has the mojo to win and win big. Count me as one of her biggest fans.
Assembly, District 71
Tony Teora [R]
Randy Voepel [R] 💀
Comment: Incumbent Brian Jones is termed out. No Democrats filed, which is understandable given the district’s heavily Republican tilt. Write-in Democrat Howard Katz got less than 1% of the vote in the 2014 primary.
Assembly, District 75
Assembly, District 76
Rocky Chavez [R, Incumbent] 💀
Comment: Chavez decided not to run for US Senate, mostly because he was too reasonable for the powers that be in the California GOP. No Democrat has opposed him in the last two elections.
Assembly, District 77
Assembly, District 78
Todd Gloria (D) ➕ ⊕
Kevin D Melton [R] 💀
Comment: This was Toni Atkins’ seat.She’s termed out and moving over to the other chamber. Now Todd Gloria is taking the next step up in his ascension in the political world. I can only hope he keeps in touch with the activist side (minimum wage, climate change) as he learns the ropes in Sacramento.
Assembly, District 79
Assembly, District 80
Lorena Gonzalez (D, Incumbent) ➕ ⊕ Ϣ
Lincoln Pickard [R]
Louis J Marinelli (I)
Comment: Lorena Gonzalez has been a ball of fire since moving to Sacramento. Her Republican opponent is a perennial candidate just this side of being a RWNJ. The other guy is running against her (in part) as a protest of her vote in support of tightening restrictions on exemptions from childhood vaccinations.
On This Day: 1894 – A Nationwide railway strike begins at Pullman, Ill. Nearly 260,000 railroad workers ultimately joined the strike to protest wage cuts by the Pullman Palace Car Co. 1934 – A severe two-day dust storm stripped the topsoil from the great plains of the U.S. and created a “Dust Bowl.” 1972 – John Lennon appeared on the “Dick Cavett” TV show and said that the FBI had tapped his phone.
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