By Doug Porter
Republican Congressman Darrell Issa took to the stage at the San Diego Regional Chamber annual congressional luncheon earlier this week to express buyers remorse over his high-profile support for presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.
In May, Issa proudly introduced presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in San Diego. A few weeks later he was surprised by primary election results showed a surprisingly close contest with ex-Marine Doug Applegate.
Now a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll finds the Congressman in a dead heat with his Democratic opponent. After coasting to re-election for eight terms in Congress in what was considered a safe Republican district, Issa’s support is showing signs of crumbling.
A GOP Nightmare
The New York Times has an article posted today describing The Donald’s downdraft striking fear into the likes of Rep. Issa:
This is the nightmare that has Republicans bolting upright: Donald J. Trump damages their party’s reputation so severely that its national competitiveness is crippled — not just in 2016, but for years.
Anti-Trump sentiment among Latino, Asian and African-American voters flashes clear warning signs. Because nonwhite voters keep growing as a share of the electorate, lingering impressions could haunt a generation of Republican candidates.
The Sacramento-based strategist Rob Stutzman warns Republicans elsewhere about what he calls the “soft racism” of Mr. Trump’s campaign: “Stand up against it now, or pay the price for decades.”
In fact, that’s precisely what has happened to the party in California for the past 22 years, after a landmark race for governor in 1994.
An Opportunity for Democrats
Daily Kos led off its morning elections digest with a story about Issa’s polling:
CA-49: Whoa, baby. Marine vet Doug Applegate surprised the hell out of political observers when he held GOP Rep. Darrell Issa to a shockingly weak 51-45 margin in California’s top-two primary earlier this month, and now the DCCC has released an in-house robopoll suggesting that those results were no fluke. The survey finds Applegate and Issa tied at 43 apiece, and perhaps even more compellingly, it shows Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump 41-38—this in a district that Mitt Romney carried 52-46 four years ago.
But even if you feel this poll might be too rosy for Democrats (and it is, after all, a partisan internal), it’s nevertheless interesting that the D-Trip decided to take a look at this race in the first place. Applegate was, it’s fair to say, on no one’s radar prior to the primary, thanks in part to his abysmal fundraising. But if national Democrats sense there’s an opportunity here, as this poll seems to indicate, that’ll open all sorts of doors for the challenger. The key date right now is July 15, which is when second-quarter FEC fundraising reports are due—in other words, when we’ll see whether Applegate has been able to capitalize on his sudden acclaim.
The Trump Effect
Politico’s California Playbook also leads with the Trump/Issa conundrum:
THE BUZZ: Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, may be a self-described master of business — but he hasn’t yet figured out how to tap the California mother lode of campaign contributions. With reports that Hillary Clinton has a 32-1 cash advantage over Trump, and 10 times the campaign staffers, Republicans are getting nervous, with evidence of the “Trump Effect” growing.
OUCH — In San Diego, the San Diego Union Tribune reported that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista — whose poll numbers are now troubling — told an audience that “I would love to redo the deck and start over” on the nomination process. And Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine — a Trump delegate — announced he’s not going to the GOP convention, worried that it will descend into “mayhem and riots and hooligans and thugs … a madhouse, really.”
The contest also shows up in Politico Pro (Subscription Required)
“A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll has found GOP Rep. Darrell Issa in a surprising dead heat with his Democratic opponent, Doug Applegate, two weeks after Issa received a low share of the primary vote in his Southern California district.”
“The poll showed Issa and Applegate with 43 percent each, while 14 percent of voters said they were undecided. Issa hasn’t had a competitive general election since he was first elected in 2000, never dropping below 58 percent of the vote in the 49th District,” which is 25 percent Hispanic.
Here’s a snip from the Union-Tribune’s take:
A survey of 504 likely general election voters has both candidates polling at 43 percent with another 14 percent undecided. The poll was commissioned by Democratic Congressional Committee and conducted on June 15 and 16. There is a 4.36 percent margin of error.
The poll was conducted more than a week after the primary election where Applegate, a Democrat political newcomer, finished with 45 percent of the vote, behind Issa, one of the most best known Republicans in Congress, with 51.5 percent. Non-partisan candidate Ryan Wingo also ran, finishing with 3.4 percent.
While Applegate finished second, he wasn’t expected to perform so well in a red district against a well-funded and well-known Republican who has been in office since 2000.
Spokespersons Weigh In
The Times of San Diego reached out to Issa’s campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for comment:
Issa’s 49th District includes both north coastal San Diego County and south Orange County. In San Diego County, the primary race was even closer, with Issa edging Applegate by 49 percent to 47 percent.
Jonathan Wilcox, a spokesman for the Issa campaign, dismissed the results of the Democratic poll, saying the methodology was difficult to verify. “Congressman Issa is in a very strong position in the 49th,” he said, adding that a partisan poll in 2014 came up with similar results.
Wilcox noted that the primary election margin was driven by “a surge in Democratic registrations and high Democratic turnout” and Issa still prevailed.
Barb Solish of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Issa’s support for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump may have hurt him in the primary, though he originally backed Sen. Marco Rubio.
I don’t usually solicit for campaigns, but this contest looks to be a worthy exception. Here’s Applegate’s campaign website. Do what you can.
An Embarrassing All-Star Game for San Diego?
City Beat’s article about the latest outrage against the homeless in America’s Finest City drives home the point about just how low Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s team will sink to fluff up the municipal pillows as the MLB All-Start game approaches.
Not only is the city criminalizing and harassing the homeless humans existing in the East Village, they’re also keen on starving them out.
The Chula Vista-based San Diego Dream Center is a volunteer-driven organization whose activities include feeding homeless individuals at least eight times a month on the streets of East Village, blocks from Petco Park.
The City Beat article details a February 12th meeting called by the Downtown San Diego Partnership and its affiliate Clean & Safe organization during which Pastor James Merino says he was threatened by SDPD officers.
“They asked, ‘What can we do to help you stop doing this?'” Merino said. “I said it’s a very important part of our belief to feed the poor, that’s part of our core values as Christians. We said we don’t think weíll ever be able to stop doing it, because that’s what we were called to do.”
The meeting became tense, Merino said. “Everybody at the table was telling us to stop,” he said. “Officer Kaye then said that other groups had stopped [doing feedings], and we were going to stop, too. He said, ‘We’re going to go ahead and bring the full extent of the law on your organization. We’ll shut you down.'”
Merino said Kaye then asked: “Are you planning on going out in July?…July is the All-Star Game…If you come out in July we will bring the hammer down on your organization.”
Merino perceived that statement as a threat. He said Kaye added: “You can go ahead and file your complaint right now.” Merino felt it was implied that any complaint made to the city would fall on deaf ears.
Merino’s wife was at the meeting and backs up his claim. The city, the quasi-governmental Downtown people and the cops all say there is no plan to purge the homeless people.
However, nobody contacted by City Beat denied the threat reported in the story.
After watching the City’s pathetic performance in installing the rockscapes–and then lying about it–, the ‘sweeps’ during a heatwave and now this, I’m feeling like the appropriate response is best given in language the mayor and his cronies will understand: PR.
If Faulconer wants lots of publicity for San Diego during the MLB All-Star game, let’s give him some…. preferably some embarrassing news for the national media to disseminate. I’ll have more to report on this as events warrant.
Meanwhile, Fox 5 News reported on an event that I’m sure is completely unrelated:
At least a half-dozen homeless people were assaulted early Tuesday while sleeping in the vicinity of the Westfield Horton Plaza mall.
The attacks took place within a four-block radius around 1:45 a.m., San Diego police Officer Dino Delimitros said.
The victims were all struck in the head with an unknown object and suffered lacerations.
On This Day: 1772 – Slavery was outlawed in England. 1933 – Germany became a one political party country when Hitler banned parties other than the Nazis. 1963 – “Fingertips – Pt 2,” by Stevie Wonder, was released.
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