by Brian Leubitz
Buck McKeon announced his retirement in January, but the announcement produced little surprise. He was rumored to retire for a while now, including some rumors in the past few cycles. And Tony Strickland, after losing a run against Julia Brownley in 2012, has been pretty much campaigning in this district since.
But even with the Strickland campaign up and running for a long time, there have been no shortage of candidates. And over in the LA Daily News, Rick Orlov takes a look at the field:
The race has drawn two prominent Republicans – Sen. Steve Knight and former Sen. Tony Strickland – who have represented portions of the district in the state Legislature, as well as a physician who first ran against McKeon two years ago, a former test pilot, a pair of businessmen and one Libertarian. (Rick Orlov / LA Daily News)
Dr. Lee Rogers, the Democratic nominee in 2012, is running again, joining former Air Force pilot Evan Thomas. The crowded field of 4 Republicans, a Libretarian, and two Democrats kind of presents the question of Top-2. Last year, a strong chance at a Democratic pickup in CA-31 was foiled when a field of Democrats piled over each other and fell behind the two Republicans running. Of course, that could happen again there in 2014, with a huge field.
In order for that dynamic to really work, there has to be two recognizable members of one party and a field of less known candidates on the other side. However, 2014 seems more likely for the two Republican Senators to split most of the GOP vote, and the other two Republicans picking up only a smattering of votes. The fact that Thomas is starting a bit behind also makes him unlikely to creep into that top-2. However, with the small sample size we have seen so far, you never really know what is going to happen in the post Top-2 world.
While 2014 is likely to be a tough year for Democrats nationwide, one again California appears to be the breaking point of any momentum. The party stands a chance to pick up both CA-31 and CA-25, netting a few seats that may have to make up for other states across the country.