Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forum: Where We Are Now

 

Hello Everyone:

It is a sunny Wednesday afternoon in the WHOLE STATE OF CALIFORNIA and time again for Blogger Candidate Forum.  Sorry about the upper case letters but Silicon Valley tech billionaire Tom Draper has spenway too much time in locked room, in front of a screen, managed to qualify a proposition on the November ballot that, if passed would split the state in three.  California has the fifth largest economy in the world, the largest Congressional delegation, and the home of the Digital Revolution.  Hopefully, the good people of the Golden State will see this for what it is, a complete waste of taxpayer time and money.  In happier news, the FIFA World Cup starts tomorrow in Sochi.  Hurray.  Who is ready for some futbol?  Looking down the road to 2026, FIFA announced the United States, Canada, and Mexico was awarded the World Cup.  Alright, time to peer into the electoral future.

It is still primary season and what has become apparent is women are leading the way.  Women Democratic candidates are emerging victorious in House of Representative primary elections.  Female candidates are also winning contests for the state house.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are no doubt paying attention.  More important, the DCCC should pay attention to their message, focus on the issues, not on the president.  Another thing the DCCC is keeping a very sharp eye on are the House races in California.  It goes without saying that the road to flipping the House goes through California.  Rather than read the coffee grounds, Blogger is turning to a more accurate source, Cook's Political Report, to find out what are the chances of a House flip.

First, California Democrats are breathing a huge sigh of relief, they avoided being "locked out" of the infamous "jungle primary--" top-two primaries, going through to the November ballot in the seven Republican seats they targeted.  David Wasserman noted that "...in several districts, they didn't avert catastrophe by much (cookpolitical.com; June 8, 2018; date accessed June 13, 2018)."  Meanwhile, New Jersey Democrats had an easier time with their races, "...top recruits comfortably won their primaries in two key GOP-held open seats (Ibid)."  Now that all the ballots have been (mostly) counted and Democrats are pleased with the results.  A win is a win and the Democrats will take it.

David Wasserman observes, "The DCCC deserves credit for the strategic investment they made to prevent nightmare 'shut out' scenario, particularly in Orange County."  In the 39th congressional district, Navy veteran/philanthropist Gil Cisneros benefited from DCCC help, advancing five points.  Over in the CD 48th minor GOP candidate John Gabbard got a small boost (3.5 percent) and may have help stave off two Republicans.

Down San Diego way, the 49th congressional district vacated by Rep. Darrell Issa (R) is being contested by environmental attorney Mike Levin and state Board of Equalization Chair Diane Harkey.  Ms. Harkey was propelled into the top spot thanks to the DCCC's relentless attacks on state Assemblyperson Rocky Chavez.  The two will face each other in November.

Republicans had some good moment.  First and foremost, the California governor's race will be between current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D) and Republican lawyer John Cox.  Mr. Cox is endorsed by the president and Mr. Trump promised to campaign for Mr. Cox in California.  Oh this should be good.  The upside is that had Republicans been shut out of the top state races, GOP voter turnout would have been depressed.  The successful recall of state Democratic Senator Josh Newman illustrates just how important the gas tax is going into the fall campaign.

David Wasserman reports, "Republicans got the female candidates they waned in both vulnerable open seat: Harkey in the San Diego 49th CD and Assemblywoman Young Kim in the open Orange County 39th CD."  In some of the districts, the Republicans got the Democratic candidates they wanted (really): "...consumer advocate Katie Porter narrowly advanced in the 45th CD, potentiallthrowing GOP Rep. Mimi Walters a lifeline."

Has the "blue wave" peaked?  Some observers seem to think so, "arguing GOP candidates combined for a majority of primary of votes in all 14 GOP-held except the open 49th CD."  Case in point, Republicans Steve Knight (CA-25) and Mimi Walters (CA-45) have a healthy "53 percent of the all party vote, despite being top Democratic fall targets."

David Wasserman writes, But this take ignores that in most districts, up to a third of the vote remains uncounted, and historically, California's late-returned/counted ballots have skewed Democratic.  In addition, California's June primaries typically bring out an older, whiter and more GOP electorate." 

As we noted at the beginning of the post, female candidates continue to dominate the Democratic   races (cookpolitical.com; May 24, 2018; date accessed June 13, 2018).  So far, in party primaries have featured a least one woman, one man, and no incumbent on the ballot, women have been the top vote-getters 70 percent of the time. Democrats are very excited about Ms. Hill and Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11)'s prospects in November.

However, Republican women have not been as successful.  In party primaries that feature one man, one woman, and no incumbent, women were the top vote-getters 38 percent of the time.  Republican women did have a good night, Ms. Kim, Ms. Harkey, and Yvette Herrell (NM-02) won their district primaries and are poised to be competitive in the fall, defeating better funded male candidates.

What does this mean for the House in November.  Cook Political Report predicts that "overall outlook of a Democtratic gain between 20 and 40 House seats (they need 23 for control). Here is where things stand as of now:

CA-21: David Valadao lean to likely Republican 
CA-49: open (Issa) toss up to lean Democrat 
CA-50: Duncan Hunter likely to solid Republican
NJ-02: open (LoBiondo) lean to likely Democrat
NJ-11: open (Frelinghuysen) toss up to lean Democrat  

A lot can happen between now and November.  Democrats need to focus on the issues that matter to the congressional districts and states.  Campaigning on the "President is the devil" platform is not going to win many votes.  Republicans should be wary about embracing the president.  His embrace of North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un, imposition of tariffs on our allies, and his feud with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can have serious consequences on districts that voted for the president.  Further, the support the president or else platform may backfire bigly.