Tag Archives: Mary Bono

Killing Medicare?

The focus of health care reform is looking toward President Obama’s speech on Wednesday, and progressives across the country are working in a whole slew of ways to ensure that a public option is included in that speech.  Meanwhile, the DCCC has some other issues that it wants to point out this weekend.

In various appearances, RNC Chairman Michael Steele has been alternatively a big protector of Medicare, and a big critic. He’s with you and against you seniors!

But Steele is hardly the only Republican who has a problem with Medicare. The Republicans have been trying in one way or another to kneecap one of the must successful programs in American healthcare.  Take a vote from April 2 of this year.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) proposed an alternative budget (beginning at p. 4469) that slashed funding so much as to pretty much assure its death.  And a slew of California Republicans voted in support of this measure. Amongst that group was one Mary Bono Mack whom the DCCC chose to target in this ad.

While the Congress members knew full well that this proposed budget had no chance of succeeding, the vote was an indicator of their plans for the future and where they would take the country if they regain the reigns.  A scary thought…

CA-45: Bono Mack Being Hunted

I noted this in my June Congressional races roundup, but it deserves a little more attention.

Mary Bono Mack has in her career adeptly threaded the needle, voting mostly with the right but surprising on just enough bills every year to appear moderate to her district, which went for Barack Obama in 2008 and has a PVI of only R+3.  But her yes vote on the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill has incensed conservatives, so much so that they are waging jihad against not only Bono Mack but her Congressman husband, who by the way voted against Waxman-Markey.

So it was probably a bit of a shock to her when she saw the headline above that I captured in a screen shot from the Republican Party blog, Red State: Mary Bono Mack Should Be Burned In Effigy And Voted out Of Office. It was written by Georgia Republican Party operative Erick Erickson and something tells me Erickson isn’t about to endorse Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, who’s not just gay, but married (to another man) and happily raising their two children! Too far a stretch for Republicans who seem to always be involved with “opposite marriages,” or whatever they call the degrading situations traditional marriage sanctity defenders like Mark Sanford, David Diapers Vitter, Larry Craig and John Ensign are in.

Erickson and the fringe loons on the furthest reaches of the non-criminal right are so upset with Bono Mack that they are threatening to not just defeat her but to go after the right-wing extremist husband to boot! He demands that she vote against health care reform and against the energy bill when it comes back from the Senate– where it will probably be watered down and look more acceptable to mainstream conservatives!!!– or face the consequences.

“Otherwise, we beat her and her husband at the polls.

Yes, you heard me. We can get at Mary Bono Mack in two ways– her district and that of her husband. He should feel the heat just as much as her.”

Now, Erickson is a silly person.  And his frothing at the mouth is unlikely to result in any change in CA-45.  However, I wonder if they can entice some far-right activist to run in the primary.  Gary Jeandron, who lost to Manuel Perez convincingly in 2008, is supposedly preparing for a rematch.  But AD-80 is far less cordial to Republicans than CA-45 is.  And maybe enough foot-stomping tea partiers can persuade him – or some other teabagger – to challenge Bono Mack in the primary.  As one of only 8 Republicans to vote for the Waxman-Markey bill (and one of them, John McHugh, is about to become Barack Obama’s Secretary of the Army), the wingnuts don’t have many targets.  Bono Mack may have poked her head up on the wrong bill.

This could be a good time to check out Steve Pougnet.

CA House Races Roundup – July Edition

Greetings and welcome to the latest installment of the California House races roundup.  We’re just around 100 days to go until the election, and things are starting to take focus.  There are about a half-dozen seats where Democratic challengers have an outside shot at dumping the incumbent, and another six on the watch list in case something spectacular occurs.  One thing to note is that the Cook numbers are tied to the 2004 election, and given the demographic changes and cratering of the Republican brand I think they mean significantly less now – it’ll be interesting to see how all these districts change in November.

We have plenty of new information to judge these races, including 2nd quarter fundraising reports, national ratings from Charlie Cook and Swing State Project, additional DCCC targets, and the appearance of many challengers at Netroots Nation.  So this list is really about who I think has the best chance to retain or take over a seat, not necessarily who should (though that may come through in the writing).  Here are some helpful bits of information that I used to help judge.

FEC disclosures (you can search by candidate name)

Voter registration by Congressional district.

Swing State Project fundraising roundup

On to the report…


1. CA-11. Incumbent: Jerry McNerney.  Challenger: Dean Andal.  Cook number: R+3.  % Dem turnout in the Presidential primary: 53.7%.  DCCC defended.  This remains the only opportunity for Republicans in the state, and it is starting to slip away.  Dean Andal is proving to be incredibly weak at fundraising, having raised under $200,000 for FOUR STRAIGHT QUARTERS.  He’s not going to be able to get up on TV, and his opponent has not only outraised him but will get about a million dollars in ad help from the DCCC.  Freedom’s Watch threw in a few anti-McNerney robocalls, but that’s really no match for the political muscle of the D-Trip.  Plus, there’s a brewing Andal scandal over his participation in passing privileged information and securing developer contracts for a San Joaquin Delta College contractor.  As for McNerney, his vote for the FISA bill has caused outcry in the district, and national groups like Blue America won’t be lending a hand.  He has changed his position on medical marijuana in response to constituents, a symbolic piece of support with activists.  But I think he’s largely on his own in this race.

McNerney: raised $416K in the second quarter, $1.37m cash on hand

Andal: raised $174K Q2, $663K CoH


I’m going to do four tiers in setting apart the top seats where we have challenges to Republican incumbents.

First Tier

1. CA-04.  Last month: 1.  Open seat.  Dem. challenger: Charlie Brown.  Repub. challenger: Tom McClintock.  PVI #: R+11.  % Dem turnout in Feb. primary: 44.7.  DCCC targeted.  Tom McClintock actually raised quite a bit of money in the second quarter, but it all got plowed into the divisive primary with Doug Ose.  Plus, he was able to go above individual spending caps because of the “Millionaire’s Amendment,” which was recently ruled unconstitutional, putting constitutional literalist McClintock in a bind over what to do with that money.  We’ve seen real awkwardness from McClintock over how to handle disgraced incumbent John Doolittle, with shows of support and rejections happening on alternate days.  Meanwhile, Charlie Brown is humming along.  He has a 6-1 cash on hand advantage, and he’ll also be the recipient of some ad love from the DCCC.  His courageous stand against the FISA bill, outreach to parts of the district harmed by wildfires, and the release of a good energy plan which stresses tax credits for alternative energy and government fleets going renewable (and opposing opening up new lands for offshore drilling, in line with the “Use It Or Lose It” plan from Speaker Pelosi).  Brown was beloved at Netroots Nation and looks good in polling.  This is obviously our biggest-priority pickup.

Brown: raised $355K, $675K CoH

McClintock: raised $1.27m, $117 CoH

Second Tier

2. CA-46.  Last month: 4.  Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher.  Challenger: Debbie Cook (Responsible Plan endorser). PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  I’m still concerned that the numbers aren’t quite there in the district, but I’m upping Cook this high because I have to acknowledge her achievements.  First, she’s outraised Rohrabacher two quarters in a row, and from what I’m being told, this has a lot to do with Dana and his wife (also his fundraiser) calling Republican backers and getting the phone slammed in their ears.  The Cook Political Report moved the race to Likely Republican, the only such move among competitive California races.  And there are indications that the D-Trip is at least taking a look at this race.  Most of this is happening because Cook is a compelling candidate.  Read her interview with Open Left or watch her interview with Talking Points Memo and you can see why.  Her environmental activism, competent fiscal management in Huntington Beach, and the fact that she’s not a ridiculously corrupt nutjob like Dana Rohrabacher makes for a fantastic profile.  This is probably too high, but there are some great signs here.

Cook: raised $110K, $97K CoH

Rohrabacher: raised $86K, $388 CoH

3. CA-50.  Last month: 5.  Incumbent: Brian Bilbray.  Challenger: Nick Leibham.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.8.  DCCC targeted.  Nick Leibham outraised Brian Bilbray in the second quarter, and took in a nice haul of $245K in his own right.  He’s been gaining some attack points for criticizing Bilbray on wanting to debate on the radio and not in the district, and calling on other states to drill offshore but not California, an incoherent position.  The D-Trip put Leibham on their Red to Blue emerging races list, and dropped radio ads in the district tying him to Bush (MP3 here).  Leibham needs to articulate an agenda rather than just slam Bilbray forever, and that agenda needs to be a true contrast, but there is some movement here.

Leibham: raised $245K, $267K CoH

Bilbrary: raised $210K, $528K CoH

4. CA-26.  Last month: 2.  Incumbent: David Dreier.  Challenger: Russ Warner.  PVI #: R+4.  % Dem. turnout: 50.2.  DCCC targeted.  Warner was very focused on fundraising in June and yet came up short of beating David Dreier in the second quarter.  The problem is that Dreier has nearly two million dollars in the bank, so there’s a nearly 40-1 cash disadvantage, including campaign debts.  And despite the positive signs in the district, that’s tough to overcome.  Warner is going to need outside help, and the Bush Rubber Stamp project is a step in the right direction, but I don’t know if they’ll have the kind of money needed to meet the challenge.  There’s not much here to get me excited at this point.

Warner: raised $161K, $125K CoH

Dreier: raised $247K, $1.9m CoH

5. CA-45.  Last month: 3.  Incumbent: Mary Bono Mack.  Challenger: Julie Bornstein.  PVI #: R+3.  % Dem. turnout: 51.3.  The district is ready for a Democrat, and the symbiosis between Manuel Perez’ hotly contested Assembly campaign and Bornstein’s is going to help her in ways that aren’t being respected by the experts.  I still think this race is being undervalued.  However, Bornstein has been fairly invisible, from what I can tell, since the June primary.  And Bornstein got significantly outraised in Q2 as Mary Bono recognized the challenge she is facing can only be overcome with money.  In cash on hand she’s not far out of sight, however, and if Bornstein proves to be a solid and aggressive campaigner and benefits from increased Latino turnout in the Eastern Coachella Valley, there’s still a shot here.

Bornstein: raised $125K, $121K CoH

Bono: raised $336K, $421K CoH

Third Tier

6. CA-03.  Last month: 6.  Incumbent: Dan Lungren.  Challenger: Bill Durston. PVI #: R+7. % Dem turnout: 51.8.  This remains my sleeper pick in California.  The fundraising numbers were close, with Dan Lungren raising $173K to Durston’s $125K.  Lungren is trying to pivot to the center, coming out for nuclear warhead reduction with Russia, and the “X Prize” for battery technology promoted by John McCain.  But he’s firmly in the drill now, do nothing camp (despite voting against the “Use It Or Lose It” plan), and he’s lying about Democratic plans for tax increases.  Then there’s this bit of hilarity:

At a town hall meeting a few months ago Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) was adamant about denying citizenship to babies born in the United States to non-citizens. He lumped the infants into the same category as immigrants who cross the border illegally. He went so far as to sponsor a bill to deny citizenship to babies born to non-citizens.

In a classic flip-flop, Congo Dan “is backing the bill giving the Department of Homeland Security 30 days to process visas for entertainers,” says the Los Angeles Times.

Durston has publicly challenged Lungren to debates, and has a nifty comparison chart on his website that shows he’s truly running a campaign of contrast.  Keep an eye on this one.

Durston raised $125K, $189K CoH

Lungren raised $173K, $615K CoH

7. CA-52.  Last month: 7.  Open seat.  Dem. challenger: Mike Lumpkin.  Repub. challenger: Duncan D. Hunter.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  Calitics got to chat with Mike Lumpkin at Netroots Nation, and we were fairly impressed.  He talked up all the “Conservative Republicans for Lumpkin” signs he’s seeing in the district.  One thing he mentioned worried me, however: well over half of the voters in the primary thought they were voting for Duncan Hunter’s father, the incumbent.  That makes this almost not an open seat, and with Hunter’s fundraising advantage, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

Lumpkin raised $129K, $54K CoH

Hunter raised $338K, $198K CoH

Also Noted

8. CA-44.  Last month: 8.  Incumbent: Ken Calvert.  Challenger: Bill Hedrick (Responsible Plan endorser).  PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 49.3.  Bill Hedrick tried to hit Ken Calvert over earmarks, and certainly there’s still a lot of smoke surrounding Calvert’s dirty dealings.  But in a low information district, Hedrick needs a lot of money for name ID, moeny he doesn’t have.

9. CA-42.  Last month: 11.  Incumbent: Gary Miller.  Challenger: Ed Chau.  PVI #: R+10.  % Dem. turnout: 44.0. Ed Chau has only $12,000 in the bank compared to Gary Miller’s $950,000.  That’s game, set and match, but questions have been raised once again about Miller’s potentially criminal actions (like his financial stake in getting an OC tollway built), so indictment is still on the fringes of possibility here.

10. CA-48.  Last month: 12.  Incumbent: John Campbell.  Challenger: Steve Young.  PVI #: R+8.  % Dem. turnout: 45.1.  Young is touting a poll (and I like that he’s touting it on ActBlue) showing that he’s up six points after biographical and issue information is distributed.  The problem is he has no money and lots of campaign debt, so how will that information get out there?  

11. CA-24.  Last month: 9.  Incumbent: Elton Gallegly.  Challenger: Marta Jorgensen.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.6. Marta Jorgensen has a fairly nice website, but the money isn’t there to make this all that competitive, and she’ll need an Elton Gallegly slip-up. (Of course, she spent $1,375 on the primary and won, so ya never know…)

12. CA-41.  Last month: 10.  Incumbent: Jerry Lewis.  Challenger: Tim Prince.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 46.3.  Tim Prince is also challenging Jerry Lewis on earmark requests, but Lewis has been pretty adept at escaping scrutiny in the district.

CA House Races Roundup – Post-Primary Edition

Well, the votes are in, the matchups are set, and so I thought it was time for a baseline roundup of where I think the California House races stand as of now.  The main pieces of information that are causing me to reset my expectations are the primary results, the April 1-May 15 fundraising numbers and the new registration numbers from the Secretary of State’s office.  You can track all three yourself:


FEC disclosures (you can search by candidate name)

Voter registration by Congressional district.

That said, let’s take a look, starting with the one threatened Democratic seat.

(A note: I’m going to start a state legislative roundup as well)


1. CA-11. Incumbent: Jerry McNerney.  Challenger: Dean Andal.  Cook number: R+3.  % Dem turnout in the Presidential primary: 53.7%.  DCCC defended.  Good news and bad news out of this race.  The good news is that Dean Andal can’t seem to raise any money – just $11,000 in the pre-primary filing period.  The bad news is that Andal got about 900 more votes in his uncontested primary than McNerney did in his.  McNerney seemed to have a lot of trouble attracting votes in San Joaquin County, which brought back more votes than any county in the district.  While the NRCC and RNC will clearly be gunning for McNerney, the Barack Obama factor is certainly going to help him, as well has his incumbency status.  So it’s not time to pull the alarm just yet.  But McNerney does have some work to do.


I’m going to do three tiers in setting apart the top seats where we have challenges to Republican incumbents.

First Tier

1. CA-04.  Last month: 1.  Open seat.  Dem. challenger: Charlie Brown.  Repub. challenger: Tom McClintock.  PVI #: R+11.  % Dem turnout in Feb. primary: 44.7.  DCCC targeted.  Well, the battle is set.  Tom McClintock, the Alan Keyes of California, came out of his divisive primary triumphant, and now Charlie Brown has an opponent.  The Brown campaign released polls showing him leading McClintock in a head-to-head matchup.  Steve Weigand isn’t yet willing to bet the farm on a Brown pickup, but he recognizes the Roseville Democrat’s strength against the carpetbagging Republican from Thousand Oaks.  That Brown was able to get 42,000-plus votes against token competition on Tuesday shows that he has an energized activist base.  Peter Hecht has a good primer on the state of the race.  Expect Brown to hammer the message of Patriotism Above Partisanship against his knee-jerk wingnut conservative opponent.  Also, McClintock is broke after a costly primary and has a lot of catching up to do financially.

2. CA-26.  Last month: 2.  Incumbent: David Dreier.  Challenger: Russ Warner.  PVI #: R+4.  % Dem. turnout: 50.2.  DCCC targeted.  Russ Warner avenged his earlier loss to Cynthia Matthews in 2006 by winning handily on Tuesday, 67%-33%.  His turnout was not great, however (just 14,000 votes).  David Dreier got 74% of the vote, not great for an incumbent, and turnout was low district-wide.  Warner has been stepping up his game with a Web ad about Dreier’s frequent trips abroad and a companion site, Frequent Flyer Dreier.  My gut feel is that this is not an effective line of attack, especially when the easiest one is tying Dreier, a member of the House Republican Leadership, to George Bush and a failed conservative agenda.  I think there’s enough interest in this seat that such a message will get out there, however.  But Warner needs to improve on his June performance.  The new registration numbers are moving in Warner’s favor, however.

Second Tier

3. CA-45.  Last month: 4.  Incumbent: Mary Bono Mack.  Challenger: Julie Bornstein.  PVI #: R+3.  % Dem. turnout: 51.3.  Bornstein easily bested two challengers and won her race on Tuesday with just over 60% of the vote.  Adding up the Dem v. GOP vote you get about 22,000 Dems and 33,000 Republicans, which isn’t great.  But I feel Bornstein has some advantages.  Being an affordable housing advocate at a time when foreclosures are at an all-time high gives her authority on an important issue.  This article explaining her support for the Foreclosure Prevention Act is an example.  Manuel Perez’ win in AD-80, which partially overlaps the district, will be helpful too, especially if they engage in a campaign to register voters in the underperforming eastern regions of Riverside County like the Coachella Valley.  There’s a lot of room to run here, and it’s wide open for Democrats to exploit.  The registration numbers show just a 19,000-vote difference between Democrats and Republicans, and a dearth of registered voters relative to other districts.  This is an opportunity.  Bornstein also had pretty solid fundraising in the pre-primary filing (around $40K in 6 weeks).

4. CA-46.  Last month: 6.  Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher.  Challenger: Debbie Cook (Responsible Plan endorser). PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  There’s a great profile of this race in today’s Los Angeles Times.

Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook has survived a few long-shot political battles. But the Debbie-versus-Goliath matchup she’s facing this fall is her biggest gamble yet.

The popular Surf City official is the Democratic hope to unseat GOP incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher — seeking his 11th term — in an underdog campaign some observers believe may succeed.

Read the whole thing.  I need to see Cook’s fundraising numbers go up before I become a true believer, and her primary performance on Tuesday didn’t set the world on fire.  Cook got around 20,000 votes to Rohrabacher’s 35,000.  But Rohrabacher isn’t doing any meaningful fundraising at all, and he continues to stick his foot in his mouth with asinine comments like yesterday’s about torture being just a bunch of “frat boy pranks.”  Cook’s communications team is fabulous and understands the netroots, and they’ll be sure to get attention in this cycle (Blue America has already hosted her).  Rohrabacher acknowledges in the LAT article that he’ll have to pay attention to this race.  He’s right.

5. CA-50.  Last month: 3.  Incumbent: Brian Bilbray.  Challenger: Nick Leibham.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.8.  DCCC targeted.  Nick Leibham had a good fundraising cycle (about $70K raised in 6 weeks) but a disastrous primary.  Cheryl Ede, who was not well-funded, got 43 percent of the vote, and Leibham was only able to manage 19,000 votes to Brian Bilbray’s 46,000.  The implication here is that Leibham has a problem with the activist support he’s going to need going into November.  That spells trouble – especially in a seat that’s winnable enough that Bilbray’s going to try and blur party lines in anticipation of a Democratic wave.  In such an environment, we need someone willing to offer a real politics of contrast.  This biographical ad is a decent start but Leibham has to get the message out there.

6. CA-03.  Last month: 5.  Incumbent: Dan Lungren.  Challenger: Bill Durston. PVI #: R+7. % Dem turnout: 51.8.  The news is all pretty good for Bill Durston.  He had a fantastic fundraising cycle (77,000 in 6 weeks) and a strong showing in the primary, getting 26,000 votes to Dan Lungren’s 34,000.  Lungren, last seen in a Speedo on a lobbyist-paid trip to Hawaii, is absolutely going to have to work this time around.  Durston’s strategy in his second attempt to win this seat is slightly reminiscent of the effort against Richard Pombo in 2006.  He’ll need the same kind of support from outside groups to pull it off but it’s not impossible; like in CA-11, the registration numbers are all pointing in the Democratic direction, with less than 4 percentage points and only 15,000 votes separating Democrats and Republicans, the closest of any GOP-held seat.

Third Tier

7. CA-52.  Last month: 8.  Open seat.  Dem. challenger: Mike Lumpkin.  Repub. challenger: Duncan D. Hunter.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  The election night numbers show this seat to still be firmly Republican, with Duncan D. Hunter getting over twice as many votes in his race as Mike Lumpkin got in his.  Lumpkin managed only 58% of the vote, too, so he needs to lock down base support.  Lumpkin’s fundraising remains OK but Hunter’s got a big advantage there.  I personally liked Lumpkin’s rejection of those who would treat marriage equality as a divisive wedge issue.

8. CA-44.  Last month: 11.  Incumbent: Ken Calvert.  Challenger: Bill Hedrick (Responsible Plan endorser).  PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 49.3.  Bill Hedrick got only 15,000 votes in his uncontested effort on Tuesday, but Ken Calvert got only 25,000 votes in his.  This seems like one of those seats where nobody actually knows who the incumbent is.  In a Democratic wave election, this is on the outside edge of being competitive.

9. CA-24.  Last month: 9.  Incumbent: Elton Gallegly.  Challenger: Marta Jorgensen.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.6.  This was the shocker primary of the night.  Marta Jorgensen, who had dropped out of the race up until a couple weeks before the primary, ended up besting her two challengers, leaving party leaders in the district baffled.  There were hopes that this could be a battleground in November, but obviously Jorgensen – who had no expectation of winning and was told about her victory by the media – has a lot of work to do.  She introduced herself to the Calitics community today, and her record as someone who worked on the Draft Gore movement is admirable.  We’ll see how she approaches the next few months.

10. CA-41.  Last month: 10.  Incumbent: Jerry Lewis.  Challenger: Tim Prince.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 46.3. Tim Prince received just 32% of the vote in winning his primary over 3 challengers on Tuesday.  With Jerry Lewis apparently in the clear from a legal standpoint, even his role as one of America’s most corrupt politicians may not be enough to take him down.

11. CA-42.  Last month: 7.  Incumbent: Gary Miller.  Challengers: Ed Chau.  PVI #: R+10.  % Dem. turnout: 44.0.  Ed Chau got around 7,000 votes in disposing of two challengers on primary night, while Gary Miller, running unopposed, got 32,000.  Chau needs to raise his profile throughout the district, as he lives outside it.  There is a small Asian community in the district and that would be a good place to start.

12. CA-48.  Last month: 13.  Incumbent: John Campbell.  Challenger: Steve Young.  PVI #: R+8.  % Dem. turnout: 45.1.  In a district including Irvine, the housing issue is going to be enormous, so if Steve Young wants to have a shot he’s going to have to make that the big issue.  He got 18,000 votes in his uncontested primary; John Campbell got 40,000 in his.  It’s an uphill climb.

California House Races Roundup – April 2008

Getting this one in under the wire.  On the last day of April, with just over a month to go until the June primaries, and six months to go until Election Day, there’s a lot going on all over the state in the Congressional races.  Of the 19 seats in California currently held by Republicans, 17 will be contested in the fall, and some strongly so.  And we now have a full 34 Democrats with the election of Jackie Speier early in the month, and only one of them is a serious challenge.  We also have the first quarter of 2008 fundraising numbers, which will raise some eyebrows.  You can track these races yourself with the 2008 Race Tracker wiki.

A note: I’m mainly getting my numbers on cash-on-hand competitiveness from the Swing State Project.  Fundraising information comes from the FEC.

Here we go…


1. CA-11. Incumbent: Jerry McNerney.  Main challenger: Dean Andal.  Cook number: R+3.  % Dem turnout in the Presidential primary: 53.7%.  DCCC defended.  Well, we’re seeing today the San Jose Mercury News reporting that this race is a “pure tossup.”  I don’t know where they’re getting that from.  There’s no question it’ll be competitive, but I look at the metric of fundraising in the first quarter, and I see that Andal, who is supposed to be the number one challenger for Republicans this cycle, couldn’t manage to raise more than $90,000.  That’s not really the numbers of a formidable opponent.  He trails McNerney in cash-on-hand by a 2-1 margin and will need significant outside expenditure support to win.  He’s getting some of that, but the DCCC isn’t abandoning McNerney either, already putting together their Radical Andal site, designed to paint the challenger as an extremist in the pocket of corporate lobbyists.  I’m sure they’ll bring up these ties to Don Young’s PAC, arguably the most corrupt member of Congress there is.  Both sides are headed door to door in the district, and McNerney is picking up a nice issue with the “Helping Our Veterans Keep Their Homes Act of 2008.”  The district is turning quite blue, and I like McNerney’s chances to hold the seat.


I’m going to do three tiers in setting apart the top seats where we have challenges to Republican incumbents.

First Tier

1. CA-04.  Last month: 1.  Open seat.  Dem. challenger: Charlie Brown.  Repub. challengers: Doug Ose, Tom McClintock.  PVI #: R+11.  % Dem turnout in primary: 44.7.  DCCC targeted.  Charlie Brown is the John McCain of this Congressional cycle.  He’s sitting back and reaching voters while his opponents bruise and batter each other.  The differences are that Brown is a better candidate and he has a bigger money advantage.  But he must be sitting back and laughing right now.  Doug Ose has gone after Tom McClintock drawing welfare from the state of California in the form of per diem payments.  McClintock called Ose a liberal Democrat.  Most of the headlines in the race have headlines like McClintock, Ose Attack Each Other.  Neither of them are from the district – McClintock won’t even be able to vote for himself in the primary – and in the meantime, lifelong resident Charlie Brown is making things happen.  He’s mobilizing volunteers in district offices.  He’s continuing to donate campaign funds to groups that provide support from veterans.  And he’s drawing on important support, like this message from area veterans.

Last week, something unprecedented in our country’s history happened here in Roseville. While politicians in both parties used the Iraq War Anniversary for pontificating and armchair quarterbacking, a local candidate for office (himself a 26-year vet with a son going back for his fifth rotation in Iraq) made good on a pledge to donate 5% of money raised in his congressional campaign to non profit organizations helping veterans and families in need. He gave away $17,500 last Thursday – just a down payment […]

As veterans, we would hope that the voters of District Four understand that tough talk by career politicians usually masks the coward within. Ose and McClintock are birds of a feather, flocking together.

We are soldiers. We believe in keeping promises. We believe in leading by example. We believe that patriotism trumps partisanship, action speaks louder than words, and we know, first hand what it takes to defend America. And for all of these reasons and more, we are proudly supporting Retired Lt. Col. Charlie Brown for Congress.

Powerful stuff.  And another reason you shouldn’t believe the hype that this district is hopeless – Charlie Brown is ready to win.

2. CA-26.  Last month: 2.  Incumbent: David Dreier.  Challenger: Russ Warner.  PVI #: R+4.  % Dem. turnout: 50.2.  DCCC targeted.  On the financial front, Warner came close to raising as much as Dreier in the 1st quarter ($136,000 to $110,000), but Dreier still has a big well of cash to draw from.  So the key for Warner is to find and exploit areas of weakness.  One of them is health care.  Warner vowed to forego the Congressional health care package until his constituents are fully covered – a very smart tactic that forces Dreier to confront the issue.  He also used the anxiety around the housing crisis to note that Dreier took $12,000 in contributions from members of Countrywide Financial while voting against aid for homeowners.  This is particularly salient given that Countrywide was basically looking past lying on applications in order to drive people who couldn’t afford it into risky loans.  For his part, Dreier is trying to pin high gas prices on Democrats, when he’s voted time and again against reining in record oil company profits and removing their subsidies.  Warner is running a pretty smart campaign thus far, and clearly Dreier knows he’s in for a fight.

3. CA-50.  Last month: 3.  Incumbent: Brian Bilbray.  Challengers: Nick Leibham, Cheryl Ede.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.8.  DCCC targeted.  I like Nick Leibham’s motto at the top of his website: “I am running for Congress because I want to be proud of my government again.”  Local op-ed columnists think he might indeed have reason to be proud come November – Logan Jenkins think the race isn’t separated by more than a few points.  Leibham had decent fundraising in Q1 and is only a couple hundred thousand dollars behind Brian Bilbray in cash-on-hand.  We know that Bilbray will try to make this a single-issue race on immigration and I say let him.  It’s getting him headlines in the district like Bilbray strikes out on the Constitution.  Cheryl Ede is running a strong grassroots campaign and endorsed the Responsible Plan to end the war in Iraq.  If there’s one beef I have with Leibham it’s an unwillingness to be bold and run his campaign on contrasting policies.  Hopefully he’ll learn this lesson.

Second Tier

4. CA-45.  Last month: 4.  Incumbent: Mary Bono Mack.  Challengers: Paul Clay, David Hunsicker, Julie Bornstein.  PVI #: R+3.  % Dem. turnout: 51.3.  Julie Bornstein, former Assemblywoman and affordable housing expert, got into this campaign late but she was still able to raise around $30,000 in a matter of weeks.  Add to that some money from prior election accounts and she’s already within a couple hundred thousand dollars in cash on hand of Mary Bono Mack, whose fundraising has been anemic this year.  I don’t think she’s taking this race seriously, but Bornstein is rounding up all the key endorsements, from the Senators Boxer and Feinstein, the CDP, labor, et al., and she’s going to run a strong race.  She does need a website – if she has one, I can’t find it (UPDATE: via soyinkafan in comments, here it is!).  Paul Clay and David Hunsicker are also running.

5. CA-03.  Last month: 6.  Incumbent: Dan Lungren.  Challenger: Bill Durston. PVI #: R+7. % Dem turnout: 51.8.  It should have raised eyebrows throughout the country when Fourthbranch Dick Cheney came out from his undisclosed location to appear at a fundraiser for Dan Lungren.  Cheney doesn’t visit districts where the Democrat doesn’t have a shot, and this was WAY early for someone in Washington to be sounding the alarm button.  Maybe they noticed that Lungren only raised around $100,000 in the first quarter, nearly matched by Bill Durston’s $75,000.  Durston was quick to respond to the Cheney fundraiser, too.

Dr. Bill Durston, Lungren’s Democratic opponent for House of Representatives in California’s 3rd Congressional District, states, “The fact that Dan Lungren would have Dick Cheney as his special honored guest at a fundraiser is one more demonstration of the fact that Lungren is in virtual lock step with the Bush/Cheney Administration.”

It’s the old Cheney/Bush double bind; they help raise money, but most voters don’t want to see you and Darth Cheney or W. in the same room.  With more favorable numbers headed Durston’s way, this race continues to get more and more competitive.

6. CA-46.  Last month: 5.  Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher.  Challenger: Debbie Cook (Responsible Plan endorser). PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  This is amazing.  Debbie Cook outraised Dana Rohrabacher in the first quarter of 2008.  Cook didn’t even enter the race until mid-January, and yet she won the fundraising battle.  Either Rohrabacher isn’t paying attention or people are tired of his act.  And the cash-poor NRCC isn’t going to be able to pull these candidates out of the fire anymore.  Debbie Cook is opening her first campaign office in Huntington Beach this coming weekend, and she’s going to run a strong race about energy, global warming and the environment.  We’ll see if Rohrabacher can keep up.  It was notable that Rohrabacher attacked the cost of the war in Iraq during the Petraeus/Crocker hearings.  He knows he’s vulnerable.

Third Tier

7. CA-42.  Last month: 8.  Incumbent: Gary Miller.  Challengers: Ron Shepston (Responsible Plan Endorser), Ed Chau, Michael Williamson.  PVI #: R+10.  % Dem. turnout: 44.0.  Disclosure: I do some netroots work for Ron Shepston.  Another amazing number – Ed Chau outraised Gary Miller in Q1.  The numbers are paltry – $39,000 to $36,000 – but it suggests that Miller doesn’t care, isn’t paying attention, or can’t find anyone to give his corrupt ass a buck.  Add all the Democratic challengers up together and Democrats outraised Republicans significantly out here.  And the primary should be interesting.  Ed Chau got labor endorsements but most of his work has been fairly under-the-radar.  Ron Shepston’s grassroots efforts may be able to pull the primary out, and he is starting to raise money.  Shepston has Ambassador Joe Wilson coming out for a fundraiser next month.  Michael Williamson has been quiet other than this attack Web ad hitting Ed Chau for not living in the district.    Gary Miller actually backed Barney Frank’s housing bill, which suggests that the mortgage mess is a REAL problem in the district.  Jonathan Weil at Bloomberg attacked Miller for trying to hide the extent of the mess from the public.

8. CA-52.  Last month: 7.  Open seat.  Repub. challengers: several, including Duncan D. Hunter.  Dem. challengers: Mike Lumpkin, Vicki Butcher.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  Mike Lumpkin has Max Cleland coming in for a fundraiser with him this week, and he raised a decent amount of money last quarter.  Here’s an overview of the race; Lumpkin apparently endorsed removing “half the troops” from Iraq, which seems to me to be a silly idea, but his background as a Navy SEAL and liaison between Congress and the Special Ops Command gives him at least some facility with the region.  This is a tough seat, especially going against what amounts to a legacy candidate.  And Hunter has a lot more money.  Vicki Butcher is a grassroots-oriented candidate who will get her share of votes in the primary.  There was actually a candidate forum in this race yesterday.  Any reports out there?

9. CA-24.  Last month: 9.  Incumbent: Elton Gallegly.  Challengers: Jill Martinez, Mary Pallant (Responsible Plan endorser).  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.6.  Marta Jorgensen has quit the race and backed Jill Martinez.  Unfortunately, the primary fight here has turned a little nasty, with Jill Martinez stretching the truth about Mary Pallant’s positions and her own finances.  Neither candidate raised a lot of money last quarter but Martinez claimed she had, despite her bank account being in the red.  Pallant is working the progressive grassroots to win the nomination, winning the endorsements of Democrats.com’s David Swanson and author Norman Solomon.  I’d love to see a true progressive take on Elton Gallegly.  He wants to drill in ANWR.  He’s not that bright.

10. CA-41.  Last month: 11.  Incumbent: Jerry Lewis.  Challengers: Tim Prince, Dr. Rita Ramirez-Dean.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 46.3.  Jerry Lewis has become the point man on forcing retroactive immunity for the telecom companies back into the House for a vote.  In his speech he assailed trial lawyers for wanting to sue the phone companies, which is funny because at a million dollars his legal defense fund has put several trial lawyers’ kids through college.  Of bigger note here is that Republicans in San Bernardino County now number under 40% and Democrats are within 8,000 voters of retaining the majority.  The district is changing, and we’ll see if Tim Prince or Rita Ramirez-Dean can capitalize.  I do like Rita’s website and use of Web video.

11. CA-44.  Last month: 10.  Incumbent: Ken Calvert.  Challenger: Bill Hedrick (Responsible Plan endorser).  PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 49.3.  Bill Hedrick endorsed the Repsonsible Plan this month, which certainly helps raise his profile a bit.  He’s holding fundraisers and trying to make voters aware of his presence headed into the general election.  Ken Calvert is gearing up for re-election by requesting all kinds of porkbarrel projects.

12. CA-25.  Last month: 12.  Incumbent: Buck McKeon.  Challenger: Jacquese Conaway.  PVI #: R+7.  % Dem. turnout: 50.9%.  I threw this in because this is yet another seat where Democratic turnout outpaced Republican turnout in February.  This seat also includes a portion of San Bernardino County (see CA-41).  McKeon has a substantial money advantage.  He, by the way, “wants the victory” in Iraq.  That must be nice, thinking about foreign policy like it’s an NBA playoff game.

13. CA-48.  Last month: 13.  Incumbent: John Campbell.  Challenger: Steve Young.  PVI #: R+8.  % Dem. turnout: 45.1.  I’ll keep including this race because I really like Steve Young.

(CA-45) Organizer for Obama

By Juan Carlos Sanchez

Senator Barack Obama has inspired me to become his District Level Delegate for the 45th Congressional District.   If you have the opportunity to vote in the CA-45 district level Obama caucus, I respectfully ask for your vote.

As a 26-year-old Mexican-born immigrant, product of Coachella Valley Unified School District and proud UC Davis alum, I’ve worked tirelessly to advocate positive and progressive change throughout our 45th Congressional District.  

After finishing the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, I returned to my hometown of Coachella to become – much like Senator Obama – a community organizer.  

As a Political Organizer for the Roth for Congress Campaign, I worked with local activist and emerging leaders with the simple yet powerful message of  “change.”  In my efforts to galvanize a new generation of voters – much like Senator Obama’s campaign – I used new media tools like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube.  

I also helped organize what I proudly called Roth-A-Palooza, which took place at my parents’ Coachella ranch.  

The Press Enterprise devoted a front-page article on our grassroots work.  

Since, I’ve been appointed as a delegate to the California State Democratic Party, appointed as alternate to the Riverside County Central Committee, and served as the Political Chair of Democrats of the Desert.  I am currently the Inland Empire’s Regional Political Organizer for SEIU United Healthcare Workers – West.  

I am proud that my union local was instrumental in pushing SEIU State Council to endorse Senator Obama before the California Primary.  

My efforts included:

o Speaking at a Obama rally in Riverside

o Recruiting and participating in precinct walking in Riverside

o Phonebanking our union members

o Organizing and executing a GOTV campaign targeting our union members.

I thank you for your time and hope you consider voting for me as our pledged Obama Delegate.  If you have any questions, please shoot me an email.  See you all on Sunday!

Juan Carlos Sanchez

e:  [email protected]

Note: I work for the SEIU United Healthcare Workers – West but nothing in this comment should be construed as anything other than my personal opinion at the time of posting

CA House Races Roundup – March 2008

Welcome back to the California House races roundup for March.  The races are coming into focus, with new challengers entering the fray before the March 7 deadline, and some actual campaigning between candidates (shocking!).  And with the DCCC looking at four races in the state, California will certainly be a battleground in Congress in November.  

We also know with a fair degree of certainty that Jackie Speier will be the next Representative in CA-12, after Lawrence Lessig declined to run.  The initial primary is April 8 and Speier is heavily favored.

So that leaves just one Democratic seat in any degree of question, and I’ve decided to expand to write about 13 Republican-held seats that have varying degrees of challenges.  Overall, Democrats are running in 18 of the 19 seats currently held by Republicans, and 52 of 53 seats overall.  Only Kevin McCarthy in CA-22 (Bakersfield) is uncontested AFAIK.  You can track these races yourself with the 2008 Race Tracker wiki.

A couple notes: I’ve changed the percentage of Democratic turnout in the February 5 primary statistics to reflect the final numbers from the Secretary of State’s office.  As you’ll see, six of the thirteen Republican-held seats mentioned had majority Democratic turnout.  Very encouraging.  Also, I’ve noted where applicable which challengers have endorsed the Responsible Plan to End The War In Iraq.  My hope is that eventually every candidate will do so; it will absolutely help them in their campaigns to show some leadership and offer a comprehensive strategy to end the war and change our conversation around national security.


1. CA-11. Incumbent: Jerry McNerney.  Main challenger: Dean Andal.  Cook number: R+3.  % Dem turnout in the Presidential primary: 53.7%.  DCCC defended.  In researching this race, I’ve noticed that Jerry McNerney gets excellent press inside his district.  He’s moved to more comfortable policy areas for him, like renewable energy and the green economy.  And he was pretty bold in standing up to the fearmongers who ran ads in his district against him about the FISA bill.  The NRCC found some coins in the couch and paid for a “Vote McNerney Out” website in support of their challenger Dean Andal.  But the percentage of Democratic turnout in the district reflects the fact that the demographics really have shifted here.  So, good luck, NRCC.


I’m going to do three tiers in setting apart the top 13 seats where we have challenges to Republican incumbents.

First Tier

1. CA-04.  Last month: 1.  Open seat.  Dem. challenger: Charlie Brown.  Repub. challengers: Doug Ose, Tom McClintock.  PVI #: R+11.  % Dem turnout in primary: 44.7.  DCCC targeted.  This race is really heating up.  The Tom McClintock welfare queen story has legs, and may damage him in his primary fight against former US Rep. Doug Ose.  A guy running as the ultimate rock-ribbed fiscal conservative can’t be seen enriching himself on the public dole.  The Ose-McClintock primary is getting nasty, with McClintock saying things like “He is one of those congressman that has squandered away our rights.”  Meanwhile, Charlie Brown has kept his promises by donating $17,500 to veterans care providers, an event which got great press.  He also took the endorsement of VoteVets PAC and won an online poll with the veterans’ group, yielding $5,000 for his campaign.  CA-04 is most definitely still in play.

2. CA-26.  Last month: 2.  Incumbent: David Dreier.  Challenger: Russ Warner.  PVI #: R+4.  % Dem. turnout: 50.2.  DCCC targeted.  The first real misstep of the campaign from David Dreier came this month, as he misstated his earnings from stock sales (to the tune of $263,000) in financial disclosure reports.  Russ Warner pounced on it, and Dreier tried to make excuses, but it fits into the narrative of him being out of touch with the district.  

Kristin Ponts, campaign manager for Warner, said, “The idea that David Dreier, who has been in Congress for 27 years, wouldn’t know how to fill out a basic financial disclosure form is absurd.”

Warner called the report an example of the “scandal-plagued culture of corruption” in Washington. He said that it was “no surprise given these recent failures to comply with House ethics rules” that Dreier chose to vote against stronger rules being adopted in the House.

The creation of an independent house ethics office was recently approved by a 229-182 vote with opposition from most Republicans.

That’s a fighting Democrat right there.  Dreier also has a Republican primary challenge, though it doesn’t look to be that big a deal.

3. CA-50.  Last month: 3.  Incumbent: Brian Bilbray.  Challengers: Nick Leibham, Cheryl Ede.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.8.  DCCC targeted.  The press is starting to come around in thinking that this is a legitimate race.  Nick Leibham was profiled in an interview by Lucas O’Connor that was pretty revealing.  I liked this:

We win this fight because their platform is old and it’s worn out…The Reagan Revolution…which started really in 1964 with Goldwater’s defeat…it culminated in 1980 and 1994 and the end of the Bush years are a bookend. It’s tired, it’s played out, and it no longer offers up a positive agenda for America. This isn’t just a change election in the sense of Democrats or Republicans.  This is a paradigm shifting election and Democrats can capture that…they’ve got a lot of work to do but we can capture it and I think the pendulum is swinging our way.

Cheryl Ede, who’s been endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America, has a base of support in the district, as evidenced by this account of an Escondido Democratic Club meeting where Leibham’s policy stances were questioned as perhaps being too conservative.  I think it’s great to be having this debate, and having Democrats locally move their candidates to the most representative positions.  That can only help in the fall.

Second Tier

4. CA-45.  Last month: 4.  Incumbent: Mary Bono Mack.  Challengers: Paul Clay, David Hunsicker, Julie Bornstein.  PVI #: R+3.  % Dem. turnout: 51.3.  As seen by the majority Democratic turnout in the primary, this is a district that’s ripe for a takeover.  And I’m intrigued by the prospect of proven electoral winner Julie Bornstein rising to the challenge.  Bono Mack is married to a guy in Florida and lives in Washington.  Bornstein is someone who’s represented the district and can do the same in the Congress.  And her son is currently serving in Iraq, which is undeniably powerful.  She announced her candidacy on the fifth anniversary of the war.  Her area of expertise is affordable housing, which is a sorely needed perspective in Washington, too.  Keep an eye on this race, it could easily go top-tier.

5. CA-46.  Last month: 7.  Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher.  Challenger: Debbie Cook (Responsible Plan endorser). PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  This is going to be the most fun race of the cycle, no doubt about it.  Dana Rohrabacher is crazy.  This is well-known.  He spent an hour on the floor of the Congress recently ranting about a secret investigation about the 1993 WTC bombing that sounded like a first draft from an Oliver Stone movie.  His former aide was just sentenced to three years in prison for molesting young boys.  Howie Klein can give you all the background you’d ever need on Rohrabacher.  And this year, we’re actually poised to capitalize on this.  Debbie Cook is the mayor of Huntington Beach, a solid Democrat who has endorsed the Responsible Plan.  The Rohrabacher people are clearly nervous; they’ve been trying to use legal shenanigans to remove “Mayor” from Cook’s designation on the ballot.  This was tossed out of court, but the strategy is to bleed Cook of money and resources and tangle her up in legal machinations.  It’s almost just as telling that Crazy Dana is teaming up with Maxine Waters and calling for a boycott of the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing in protest of the crackdown in Tibet.  He’s trying to moderate his nutball stances.  He’s scared.

6. CA-03.  Last month: 5.  Incumbent: Dan Lungren.  Challenger: Bill Durston. PVI #: R+7. % Dem turnout: 51.8.  As I’ve said earlier, this is the most Democratic seat currently held by a Republican.  It had the highest Democratic turnout in February of any Republican-held seat, and it has the narrowest registration advantage, too.  Bill Durston is a physician and a Vietnam combat veteran.  He needs the resources, but a Democrat can win this district, and maybe some of the national money put into the neighboring district of CA-04 will wear off on people over here.  Plus, Debra Bowen’s relentless registration efforts have their best effect in the districts in and around Sacramento, and these days that means more registered Democrats.  This one will be close.

Also, Dr. Durston wrote a song about war.

Third Tier

7. CA-52.  Last month: 6.  Open seat.  Repub. challengers: several, including Duncan D. Hunter.  Dem. challengers: Mike Lumpkin, Vicki Butcher.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  Duncan Hunter is still favored, but Navy SEAL Commander Mike Lumpkin has been good at raising money, and this interview with him shows that he has a decent command of the issues.  Green Beret Jim Hester dropped out to endorse Lumpkin.  Much like in CA-50, Vicki Butcher has been endorsed by PDA, and will offer a nice progressive counter-weight in the primary.  A contested primary can only help a novice candidate like this.  Here’s a not-so-decent story on the race.

8. CA-42.  Last month: 10.  Incumbent: Gary Miller.  Challengers: Ron Shepston (Responsible Plan Endorser), Ed Chau.  PVI #: R+10.  % Dem. turnout: 44.0.  Disclosure: I do some netroots work for Ron Shepston.  You pretty much can’t find Gary Miller anymore, he’s gone so far underground, but Ron Shepston has become more visible of late.  He endorsed the Responsible Plan, and he attacked Gary Miller for a $1.28 million dollar earmark that he placed in the 2005 highway bill, clearly to benefit his biggest campaign contributor.  Ed Chau is also a bit of a mystery, although the LA County Labor Fed endorsed him.  I can’t imagine they’d put money into the primary, however.

9. CA-24.  Last month: NR.  Incumbent: Elton Gallegly.  Challengers: Jill Martinez, Mary Pallant, Marta Jorgensen.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.6.  I decided to add this seat after seeing the Democratic turnout numbers from February.  If the right candidate can raise enough money to be visible, this is a dark horse seat.  Elton Gallegly is your basic rubber stamp Republican, and he flirted with retirement in 2006.  Jill Martinez was the opponent that year, and Mary Pallant, my fellow 41st AD delegate, appears to be putting together a decent organization locally.  PDA has endorsed Pallant, and she penned an op-ed in the Ventura County Star responding to Elton Gallegly’s no new taxes screed in the same paper.

The congressman plays a numbers game with the people’s money, while distorting history and facts. He feigns compassion for the nation’s middle class and poor while protecting tax loopholes for megamillionaires and the well-connected few.

Gallegly’s tax policy is inconsistent and unsound because it is too simplistic and relies upon the discredited notion of supply-side economics. The only thing that trickles down is massive debt to those least able to pay.

I love a strong an unabashed progressive in this district.  Let’s see what happens.  Marta Jorgensen is also running in this district.

10. CA-44.  Last month: 9.  Incumbent: Ken Calvert.  Challenger: Bill Hedrick.  PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 49.3.  Bill Hedrick is the only challenger for this seat headed into the primary, as Louis Vandenberg and Rogelio Morales have dropped out.  Ken Calvert’s corruption questions continue to grow, as he has sponsored legislation that would help some business partners back home.  The fact that Democratic and Republican turnout was virtually tied in February shows that there’s an opportunity here.

11. CA-41.  Last month: 8.  Incumbent: Jerry Lewis.  Challengers: Tim Prince, Dr. Rita Ramirez-Dean.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 46.3.  Jerry Lewis just got a lifeline from the new US Attorney for Los Angeles.  Thomas O’Brien disbanded the public corruption unit that would be investigating Lewis’ corrupt actions on behalf of lobbyists.  Dianne Feinstein is seeking answers on this, but the short answer is that Lewis is probably out of the woods on the indictment front.

12. CA-25.  Last month: NR.  Incumbent: Buck McKeon.  Challenger: Jacquese Conaway.  PVI #: R+7.  % Dem. turnout: 50.9%.  I threw this in because this is yet another seat where Democratic turnout outpaced Republican turnout in February.  I know nothing about Jacquese Conaway other than her candidate website.

13. CA-48.  Last month: NR.  Incumbent: John Campbell.  Challenger: Steve Young.  PVI #: R+8.  % Dem. turnout: 45.1.  I really like Steve Young and the tireless work he’s done to build the party in one of the reddest areas in the entire country.  Visit his site, won’t you?

(CA-45) LiveBlogging Julie Bornstein’s Kick Off

Ron Oden, former Mayor of Palm Springs, is just starting his introductory remarks.  It’s a packed room here at the Palm Desert Library’s Community Room.  I recognize many faces here, the Democrats have been waiting for this for a long time.

I’ll do my best to transcribe below.


Two elected offices:  Desert Community College District, and 80th AD.  She’s been elected here, not once, but twice.  She knows this area, and has history here.  Last Dem elected to the 80th, I remember how excited we were to win that seat, and I believe we’ll be excited again.

Elected Caucus Chair in her first term, ranked as the top legislator in her class in the Assembly.  Tapped by Gray Davis to head up Housing and Community Development.  Active, involved, will get the job done.

For the last ten years she’s run an affordable housing nonprofit.  Articulate, approachable, knowledgeable.

Great pleasure to introduce our rep for the CA-45th

Julie Bornstein (paraphrased):

Introduced Ralph Waite (Pa Walton, for those netroots folks who remember The Waltons).  Introduced other local leaders.

Built Ted Williams field with a grassroots group, made her realize how important it was to know the needs of your community.

Couldn’t sit comfortably by on the sidelines  at this time.  Call for the honorable traditions of our country.  Honor, accountability, fairness.

Why has government asked our military to serve repeated tours when

Why special benefits for corporations

Whey when affordable healthcare so hard to afford, leaders refuse to help.

Affordable housing.

Fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.  For the killed, injured, loved ones of such, a notable day.  26th birthday of her son Ryan, serving in Iraq for the DoD.

Tactics on prisoners that are abhorred.

Properly care for our injured.

Diminished our credibility, capacity to address conflicts

Three trillion dollars, with CA carrying a disproportionate cost.

Cut taxes, borrowed overseas to pay for this.

Who isn’t fearful about the economy?  Food prices up, people can’t feed their children, jobs going overseas, healthcare out the window.

I have the expertise in housing and economy.

We can relegate the American Dream to the history books, or renew its promise.

Regain respect of community of nations, clean energy, affordable healthcare and decent, affordable housing.  Reestablish accountability in govt and responsibility to the taxpayer.

Ship of state is floundering, but this ship is ours to right.  

wanted to do that when she came here.  Children raised here, mother died here.  

Palm Springs Democrats Tire of TDS, Pro Bono Sun, Mydesert.com Bias, Begin Local Media Watch

Well, it has come to this.  Local progressive Democratic activists have for years attempted to work with The Desert Sun, aka The Pro Bono Sun, and, more recently, mydesert.com, to have more accurate and fair reporting on local politics.  But, the Pro Bono Sun and mydesert.com has been oblivious to the changing demographics in the Coachella Valley and continues to inaccurately and unfairly represent local Democrats.

Case in point, the recent article which listed the four Democratic candidates for the CA 80th Assembly District that listed only three of the candidates and omitted the name of Greg Pettis, Mayor Pro-tem of Cathdral City and Candidate for the 80th AD.  Inaccuracy at its worst, or prejudice at its best.

More below the flip…

Last week, the Pro Bono Sun and mydesert.com corrupted an article on the ineffectual representation of Rep. Mary Bono Baxely Mack (R-CA) in the 45th Congressional District.  The Gannett news empire, of which TDS is apparently a not-so-integral part, posted an amazing story about Mack ranking 309 out of 425 Congressmen and Congresswomen in the current Congress re power and legislative skill.  Scathing journalism, truth to power.  TDS however watered down the article, incorporating the two powerful U.S. Senators in CA, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and reworded the title of the article and the text to mask Bono’s ineptitude.

Must be nice to be a friend of TDS (was that the picture of the TDS hierarchy at Mack’s wedding?  Talk about conflict of interest).

The Pro Bono Sun is oblivious to the fact that the Coachella Valley is changing and the progression is probably irreversible.  During Election 2004, Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Coachella, and Indio all voted a majority for Kerry/Edwards over Bush/Cheney.  In 2000, when the CA 80th Assembly District was formed, Republicans held an advantage over Dems.  Now, as of February 2008, Democrats outnumber Republicans by almost 15,500!  Together, Democrats and Decline to State voters amount to 51% of the voters in the 45th Congressional District where Rep. Mary Bono Baxely Mack holds onto the district by the tips of her French nails.

Last Saturday, representatives from the Desert Stonewall Democratic Club, the Palm Springs Democratic Club, the Democrats of the Desert, and the Palm Springs Democratic Women have launched a media watch group for the most egregious news media venture in the Coachella Valley: The Desert Sun (aka, The Pro Bono Sun).  These clubs plan to also include the other Democratic clubs and our allies in the Coachella Valley in our efforts to track the inaccuracies and bias of The Pro Bono Sun and mydesert.com.

(Remember the Democratic Unity Rally for the New Hampshire primary where 75-100 activists gathered at the Look Patio Bar & Restaurant and where the Republicans had nothing scheduled?  The Pro Bono Sun took quotes from Democratic Rally organizers Greg Rodriguez and Rob Simmons for sure.  But, even without any event, The Pro Bono Sun tracked down three, count them, three Republicans to counter.  No Republican party, three quotes.  Democratic Unity Rally, two quotes.  Interesting.)

The Times, er, The Sun, it will be achanging.  Otherwise, the media watch wars begin.

Primary Turnout: Might Be A Good Year to Compete Everywhere

(bump cause I like congressional and numbers – promoted by Lucas O’Connor)

Turnout from Tuesday’s primary by party.  Every district with a Republican leaning PVI plus Barbara Lee just for fun and comparison’s sake. Of the Republican leaning districts, Dem turnout was higher in 8 and close in several others.  Might be an interesting November. Just sayin.

Numbers on the flip.

Update: I should have mentioned in the first place, there are still no Democratic candidates in CA-02, CA-19, CA-22, or CA-25.  Turnout was dead even in the 19th and higher for Dems in the 25th, just for starters.

CA-02; R+13

Wally Herger (R)

R 80,090

D 70,563

CA-03; R+7

Dan Lungren (R)

R 70,544

D 80,070

CA-04; R+11

Open (R)

R 107,757

D 89,717

CA-09; D+38

Barbara Lee (D)

R 13,384

D 124,070

CA-11; R+3

Jerry McNerney (D)

R 69,766

D 81,650

CA-19; R+10

George Radanovich (R)

R 63,766

D 62,331

CA-21; R+13

Devin Nunes (R)

R 51,272

D 44,053

CA-22; R+16

Kevin McCarthy (R)

R 86,234

D 61,123

CA-24; R+5

Elton Gallegly (R)

R 78,422

D 82,293

CA-25; R+7

Buck McKeon (R)

R 60,837

D 64,048

CA-26; R+4

David Dreier (R)

R 73,144

D 74,934

CA-40; R+8

Ed Royce (R)

R 66,027

D 59,372

CA-41; R+9

Jerry Lewis (R)

R 68,055

D 59,833

CA-42; R+10

Gary Miller (R)

R 79,622

D 63,182

CA-44; R+6

Ken Calvert (R)

R 57,083

D 57,317

CA-45; R+3

Mary Bono (R)

R 53,635

D 59,067

CA-46; R+6

Dana Rohrabacher (R)

R 81,427

D 74,084

CA-48; R+8

John Campbell (R)

R 92,187

D 75,845

CA-49; R+10

Darrell Issa (R)

R 62,658

D 53,493

CA-50; R+5

Brian Bilbray (R)

R 78,489

D 82,358

CA-52; R+9

Open (R)

R 74,593

D 67,849