Tag Archives: Gary Miller

The Two Strongest House Democratic Pickup Chances

Two hottest California GOP seats in 2014

by Brian Leubitz

I’ve been away from blogging for a while, in case you missed the radio silence. While I can’t make any firm commitments, I’m going to try to be a bit more active here, so make sure you stay tuned and keep watching your RSS feeds, facebook feed, etc.  As a kickoff to the year, let’s take a look at two of the GOP House seats in play this year.

1) CA-21, where freshman David Valadao is in a Cook lean Republican seat after defeating John Hernandez 58-42 in 2012. 2014 isn’t likely to be a stronger Democratic year, but Valadao could be looking at a very strong challenger in one of Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 20 Women to Watch in 2014, Amanda Renteria.

The former teacher is running to represent California’s Central Valley in the House, a Democrat challenging the Republican incumbent. She was a staffer first for Senator Dianne Feinstein, and then, under Senator Debbie Stabenow, the first Latina chief of staff in Senate history. She turned down a position as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to focus on her campaign. (Cosmopolitan)

Yes, that is that Cosmo, but the full article of women to watch in 2014 is a good read. (There is one other Californian, Kamala Harris, for whom I have done some work.) She has a wealth of experience in public service and is clearly qualified for the job, the question is whether she can make the transition to political work. If she can raise the money needed for a robust campaign, this could be a very interesting race.

2) Down in San Bernardino (mostly), Gary Miller has his hands full in a lean Democratic seat. As David Atkins pointed out yesterday, Top-2 foiled the Democrats as the votes were split between a number of candidates, leaving two Republicans in the general election. While the candidate field is still flexible, that seems unlikely to happen again. At least unlikely if there is a bit more cooperation all around, but there is still a big field gearing up for a general election.

The full list on Around the Capitol is a little disheartening on the top-2 front:

Pete Aguilar (Democrat) – Mayor, Redlands

Danny Tillman (Democrat) – Trustee, San Bernardino Unified

Eloise Gomez Reyes (Democrat) – Attorney

Joe Baca (Democrat) – Former Member of Congress

However, as of now, there isn’t a second Republican in sight. If one does file before the deadline, this four way matchup could be a slow motion repeat of 2012. If a Democrat is able to get into the general election, Miller will be a top nationwide target. He has a somewhat tricky relationship with ethics and isn’t really all that popular.

Campaign Update

A mini-report:

• CA-04: I love this video from the Charlie Brown campaign.  They traveled 412 miles down to Thousand Oaks to talk to constituents of California’s Alan Keyes, State Senator and professional office-chaser Tom McClintock.  It’s really funny and drives the point home that McClintock is a do-nothing at best and a dangerous radical at worst:

And get this, McClintock is now running on the state budget, the Republican version of which has a 19% approval rating.  That’s like putting Nixon, Bush and Cheney in your campaign ad.

• CA-26, CA-45: Not one but two!  Both Russ Warner AND Julie Bornstein have been added to the DCCC “Races To Watch” list.  This is a prelude to being listed as Red To Blue candidates.  If the D-Trip comes through with some money, maybe threatened incumbents like Dreier will have to stop mouthing off about other GOP races and start paying attention to their own. UPDATE: Mike Lumpkin (CA-52) is on that list now too, which is a pleasant surprise.

• CA-46: When John Fund tries to target a Dem challenger, you know something’s going wrong.  Fund is sounding the alarm on Debbie Cook, as Dana Rohrabacher tries to greenwash himself with a scheme to build solar-power plants on federal land without environmental impact studies.  Fund says that Cook called this “an extreme position,” but he chopped the quote:

Democratic challenger and Mayor of Huntington Beach Debbie Cook agrees that the process of approving solar power plants is sluggish and needs to be sped up, but not at the expense of the environment.

“This is just another extreme position by Dana Rohrabacher. What we need to do is come up with a balanced approach that streamlines these projects, because they’re critically important to our energy future, but at the same time recognizes the impacts to the environment,” Cook said.

Rohrabacher’s doing the equivalent of saying he’ll grow jobs by hiring 10,000 federally funded serial killers, and then wondering why everyone’s worried about the mass death (“You wanted jobs, didn’t you?”).  There’s a sensible way to free up the bottlenecks and a rash one.  Rohrabacher chose door #2.

• CA-42: The internal poll results released by Ed Chau are intriguing (showing him up 44-38 after a mix of positive and negative information released on the candidates), but I don’t think candidates who have minimal bank accounts should do polls stating the numbers after a mix of information if they don’t have the money to get that information out.  But if Gary Miller truly has a 28% re-elect number as the poll states, he could be in trouble.

California’s Corrupt Congressional Members

The Center for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) does an annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress List. It's usually chock full of California's Republican Delegation.  Of the 19 California Republicans in Congress, 4 of them are on the list. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 21%. Ouch. The 4 Congressmen?

Ken Calvert
John Doolittle
Jerry Lewis
Gary Miller

That's a motley crew now isn't it? It's the same crew that we've seen on that list for quite a few years.  And, after Doolittle is replaced (hopefully by the always friendly Charlie Brown), we'll see one of the most corrupt, Doolittle, drop off the list.  It's probably for the best, as he's getting a little too close to the indictments for comfort.

Unfortunately, a California Democrat joins the list, which I'm pretty sure is a first. (UPDATE: Apparently Maxine Waters has been on the list in the past) Rep. Laura Richardson has joined the list as a “dishonorable mention.” CREW points to Ms. Richardson's very bizarre, and embarassing, real estate transactions:

 Because it is unusual for someone with such a deplorable credit history to be repeatedly approved for mortgages, the House ethics committee should investigate whether: (1) Rep. Richardson received a preferential loan in violation of House rules; (2) whether she had received other favorable treatment from lenders in the past; and (3) what, if any, official actions she may have traded to acquire these preferential terms. The House ethics committee should also consider whether Rep. Richardson’s failure to include her mortgages on her financial disclosure forms violates House rules.
In addition, the committee should examine the timing of Rep. Richardson’s most recent default and the $77,500 she loaned her congressional campaign committee.  By funneling money that should have gone to pay her mortgage and property taxes to her congressional campaign, Rep. Richardson engaged in conduct that does not reflect creditably on the House.

Well, here's hoping that this can be resolved in a way that lifts the cloud over the California Democratic delegation.

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.

Want to Meet Joe Wilson and Ron Shepston in Los Angeles?

Despite the unwillingness of our Democratic Congress (Rep. Wexler notwithstanding) to do their Constitutional duty to hold the criminals in the Bush Administration accountable for their actions, the major sacrifices made by and injuries done to Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson and their colleagues and associates will not soon be forgotten by those of us who care deeply about our country.  This nation owes them a debt of gratitude for their service and their willingness to tell the truth in spite of incredible hostility and pressure from a corrupt and utterly immoral White House and its cronies.

Those progressive patriots of you who live in the Southern California area will have the opportunity to meet Joe Wilson himself at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills tomorrow (Thursday) at 6:30pm for the equally courageous Netroots candidate Ron Shepston.  I’ll be there as well, for what that’s worth!

Most of the Netroots community is familiar by now with Ron and his campaign.  Ron started blogging as CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream.  At a blogger dinner in Los Angeles, a bunch of us realized that there was no serious challenger running against the uber-corrupt Gary Miller in CA-42  (The DCCC has produced a must-see video on Gary Miller’s disgusting tax evasion scheme–just one of many reasons the guy has got to go, together with all his GOP friends).  So we asked Ron if he would consider running–and the rest is history.  Ron has since run a netroots-based campaign to win in this tough but doable district, with the inimitable dday as his Netroots Coordinator.  For more about Ron, you can see his quick bio here, and his issues page here.

Want to meet Ron and Joe Wilson?  Just head on over to Beverly Hills at 6:30pm this Thursday night for the $50 fundraiser!  You can see details at the Facebook event page, or download the info from Ron’s campaign homepage.  Tickets can be purchased either at the door or online.

There will also a lunch with Ambassador Wilson and Ron Shepston in Los Angeles at 1pm (no donation limit has been set).  If you’re interested in attending the luncheon, feel free to email erik_at_ronshepston_dot_com and they’ll have more information for you.

Hope to see you there!

CA-42: Gary Miller’s Heebie-Jeebies

On Thursday the House of Representatives passed legislation that would provide federal underwriting for new loans to 500,000 homeowners at risk of foreclosures, as well as increase the limit on FHA loans to $729,750, include tax credits (which are loans to be paid back over 15 years) for first-time home buyers, tighten oversight of the lending industry and provide billions in grants to the states to buy and repair foreclosed homes for resale.  Every California Republican voted against it except one – Diamond Bar’s Gary Miller, not known as any kind of moderate squish (he voted with the majority of House Republicans 96% of the time last year).  The housing crisis is playing out in districts like his, and Miller can’t afford to ignore it.

…Miller, a land developer, called the housing downturn the most serious one he had seen in more than 30 years. “I really wish I could support my Republican colleagues,” he said. “But I’m very concerned about the marketplace.

“A lot of people are losing their homes,” he added. “That not only hurts them, but the neighbors around them because of foreclosure. Their home value drops.” […]

Miller, whose district includes parts of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties, disputes the Republican portrayal of the bill as a bailout. Under the measure, lenders must agree to take a significant loss on a homeowner’s debt in return for a federal guarantee that the reduced loan will be repaid.

“I’m not in any way supporting the concept of bailing people out who made bad decisions,” Miller said. “But things happen in life. . . . There are a lot of innocent people out there.”

Here’s why this is notable.  Miller is one of the greediest and most unscrupulous developers out there.  In fact, part of his calculus may just be that it’ll help bail out homeowners who can stay in the developments from which he profits.  However, his concern for “innocent people” hasn’t been borne out by his prior voting record.  What’s different here is that he ran unopposed last year, even as the FBI was investigating him for tax evasion and shady land deals.  This year, three opponents have stepped up to challenge him, and if nothing else, they have forced him to at least pretend his district exists.  This is going to be true in every district we’re contesting in November.  The twin victories by Democrats in special elections in Illinois and Louisiana (and possibly another in Mississippi next Tuesday) has House Republicans ranging from mildly nervous to scared out of their gourds.  And as more swing seats open up (buh-bye, Vito Fossella), there’s no way the NRCC, the campaign arm of the Republicans in the House, can step in with any cash infusion to bail out an incumbent.  Tom Cole, the head of the NRCC (for now), has basically told lawmakers that they’re on their own.  So you’re going to see more out-of-character votes like this for the rest of the year.  And you will be able to tell who’s more nervous by their positions on these votes.  I’d say Gary Miller has a few beads of perspiration on the forehead.

You can also see which issues these lawmakers think will resonate in their particular districts.  Obviously the housing crisis is hitting CA-42 hard.

(yes, I do some netroots work for Ron Shepston, who’s one of the Democrats running in CA-42 to replace Miller)

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.

Lots of California Republicans Can’t Raise Money

I noticed this before Swing State Project codified it, but there were some stunning numbers in the Q1 Congressional fundraising reports that augur well for Democratic upsets in November.

We know that Charlie Brown is raising tons of money and has close to $600,000 cash on hand, and his challengers are spending all their money in a bruising primary race (Doug Ose has a million dollars in debts on his books).  We know that three California challengers raised six figures in the first quarter (Brown, Russ Warner and Nick Leibham) and have been consistently doing so.  What’s notable is the lack of fundraising prowess among key Republicans.

Dean Andal is supposed to be one of the top GOP challengers in the whole country.  Yet he could only manage $90,000 in the first quarter, which considering how much effort the GOP is putting into his race is embarrassing.

More interesting to me are the incumbents.  David Dreier raised $136,000, not all that much more than Russ Warner’s $110,000.  Dan Lungren raised around $100,000, not much more than Bill Durston’s $75,000 (very respectable for his grassroots campaign).  And then there are two in Orange County that are shocking.  Dana Rohrabacher was OUTRAISED by Debbie Cook in CA-46: $47,000 to $39,000.  And Cook didn’t get a full quarter in because she didn’t announce until late January.  (On a similar note, Julie Bornstein was able to raise $29,000 in just a few weeks after her announcement).  And in CA-42, Gary Miller was outraised by Ed Chau, a carpetbagger from Montebello, and if you add in Ron Shepston’s total Miller was significantly outraised by his challengers.

That’s quite incredible.  Miller and Rohrabacher might be dismissing the effort against them, and they still have plenty of cash on hand.  But as a symbol of support in the district, clearly Democrats have the momentum all over the state.  We’re going to be very competitive this cycle, and if one of these districts hits, the cash-poor NRCC and the pathetic fundraising prowess of these Republicans isn’t going to save them.

CA 42: It’s Do or Die – My Push to Win June 3rd Primary

( – promoted by Robert in Monterey)


Honestly, I can’t do this without you.

From the beginning, this campaign has been about the netroots taking the next step to becoming the mainstream. You’ve been fantastic, but we need more if we are to win the primary. If we implement the plan below we will win and set the stage to win in November. We need to make a lot of noise and talk to a lot of people. Not enough people know about us and even fewer understand why we are doing this.

Latest Blog Button

Without the money, there is no campaign – so I’m not going to beat around the bush.  We need money; we need it now. We need your help.  If you believe in candidates emerging from the netroots, like I know you do, then please contribute.

Click on this button to go to ActBlue.

Jump below for a story and some details on how your money will be spent.

As a candidate from the netroots I know how much we are into meta as our method for understanding. Well, this is probably the first campaign meta. But remember this is real and this is what Obama and Hillary and all the other candidates go through at some degree. Enjoy but remember that this is not a staged reality TV show. I am running for Congress to win and we are a campaign that really needs your help. It’s not hype and it’s not hyperbole.

Next week, Q1 FEC reports come out. I’m going to give you a preview of what they say about my run for Congress. You can see what we’ve raised on ActBlue and how many supporters we have. This doesn’t count a fair number of checks mailed to us outside of ActBlue. Combining them, this isn’t bad for a candidate like me, someone who has led many teams but has never held elective office. Super stars like Darcy Burner and Charlie Brown started in this range and look at where they are now.

WHAT WE NEED (Details Below)
Voter contact $36,000
E-Campaign $3,750
Overhead $19,500
Fundraising Costs   $5,250
Signs $2,500
GOTV $1,000
Misc. $2,250
Total $70,250

Why we need to win the primary – Incumbent Gary Miller

Gary Miller is part of the old political style and culture where politicians used their office to benefit themselves and their friends. His questionable style has been to act as if he’s free do what he wants regardless of how it looks and whether it is illegal or not.

From Wikipedia:


Miller sold 165 acres to the city of Monrovia in 2002, making profit of more than $10 million. Normally, he would have had to pay state and federal taxes of up to 31% on that profit.

Instead, Miller told the Internal Revenue Service and the state of California that Monrovia had forced him to sell the property under threat of eminent domain. That allowed him to shelter the profits from capital gains taxes for more than two years before he had to reinvest the money.

The trouble is that the Monrovia city officials said they never threatened him with eminent domain.

2005 and 2006

Miller took an exemption again in 2005 when he sold the 10 lots to the city of Fontana and again in 2006 when he sold a building to Fontana, claiming both were compulsory sales. The lots and building had been purchased in late 2004 with proceeds from the Monrovia sale. Such exemptions give him another two years after each sale to reinvest the funds without paying capital gains taxes.

Again this time city officials said the sale was voluntary.

2005 profits from dealings with business partner and federal transportation bill

As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Miller pushed for a provision in the 2005 transportation bill that allowed the city of Rialto to close its airport, the first time an act of Congress has ever shuttered an airport. It is a power the Federal Aviation Administration traditionally has had sole authority to exercise. The closing of the airport paved the way for Lewis Operating, a business partner and campaign contributor, to win a multimillion dollar contract from the city to develop the airport land and build a planned community consisting of 2,500 homes, parks and 80 acres of retail space on the former airport and adjacent land.

That’s pretty obviously slimy if not illegal.

December 2006 allegations

In December 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that Miller had used “congressional muscle” for “personal business matters.”[7] This included having congressional staff do Miller’s personal errands, collecting nearly $25,000 a year in rent from his campaign committee, using the offices of his real estate development firm as his campaign office, and ordering an aide to find a way to get a city business-friendly councilmember on the National Park Board who was involved in a city purchase of Miller’s property.

And there’s more out there. We’ve been contacted by people on other issues not listed in Wikipedia which we are looking into now. That will be revealed soon.

Latest Blog Button


We started with a vision to help change the national conversation. We started this campaign because we wanted to help change our national character to one dedicated to doing what’s best for Americans and America.

Paraphrasing Plato, in a democratic society

“the penalty that good people pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by lesser people”.

Lesser people do nothing as millions of Americans go without health care.

Lesser people do nothing as our economy degrades under the weight of corruption and special interests.

Lesser people do nothing as our sons and daughters, our fathers and mothers, lose their lives in the cross fire of a civil war or on the rubble-strewn streets of a decimated Iraq.

Lesser people serve their own interests, and those of their contributors, at the expense of the general public.

We are all tired of being governed by lesser people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, I’m sure that you are too.


Many but not all of you know our story so bear with me while I take us all back to Jan 2007. A group of us who’d met at YK2006 in Las Vegas got together for dinner at Cantor’s for a few beers when Adam “clammyc” Lambert came to LA on a business trip.

This campaign grew out of that gathering, after Dave “dday” Dayen said “Hey Ron — don’t you live in Gary Miler’s district”?

Previous diaries in the CA-42 campaign rollout series:

7/15: thereisnospoon’s CA-42: A Kossack is running for Congress

7/16: atdnext’s CA-42: The Case Against Dirty Gary Miller

7/17: Major Danby’s CA-42:  I’m managing a netroots U.S. House campaign

7/18: CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream’s CA-42: Hi, I’m Ron Shepston and I’m running for Congress

7/19: hekebolos’s CA-42: A Netroots campaign– politics the way it should be.

7/20: dday’s CA-42: The Lay of the Land

7/21: OrangeClouds115 CA-42: “I Know His Heart”

7/22: Shockwave’s CA-42: Ron Shepston rides into a Republican stronghold

7/24: Major Danby’s CA-42: On YearlyKos, anger, and dreams

7/25: thereisnospoon’s Get Off the Internet!

7/26:  buhdydharma’s Help Save This Baby! **

7/28: clammyc’s CA-42, 2008 and the netroots: a jumping off point


The creation of this site and the many other left-leaning blogs marked the beginning of a movement to make the changes we all know need to be made and in which we are actively participating. My campaign is a logical extension to actively govern while beating Democrat and Republican leaders about the head and shoulders with facts and the reality- based honest assessment of them.

We don’t get everything right and making mistakes is all part of every movement. We’ve made a few and we’re still here making some waves and giving people in the very red 42nd a local race to feel good about. We are on the threshold of big things for the country and the world but we need more help and involvement because we are at risk here. I’m sure that we and the country will survive a lose in an +9 Republican district but we don’t want to lose. This is a case where winning and losing are definable and we know how to win.

Latest Blog Button


Let me tell you a short story about myself and something significant in understanding how I approach working with people and how I look at the netroots and grassroots support for my race.

Back in 1992 after training nearly two years and a failure after just 10 months I raced in a 508 mile bicycle race,


The Furnace Creek 508.
After a decent start under control I approached a 10-mile hill up Townes Pass leading into Death Valley. The bottom of the hill is at around 190 miles at approximately 9pm. That’s early enough so that I was still feeling strong. Halfway up the relentless 9-10% grade I was toasted as we say when we have so little left that even standing is difficult.

On a race like this riders have crews. I had a support vehicle which stayed with me and a car to scout the course ahead. They were manned by family and friends. When I stopped halfway up the hill I leaned over my handle bars for support and said to my friend and crew chief Larry – “what makes me think I can complete another 300 miles when I feel like this now”. He didn’t respond directly. I asked for a pair of Teva sandals so that I could walk a while. Larry gave them to me with the words – “Just get to the top, eat a little then you can take a rest”.

I walked about ½ mile, got back on the bike and rode to the top. When I got there at nearly midnight Larry said “sleep for a little and then you can get back on the bike”.

When I did I had new energy and new power. I passed more than a few riders to finish 6th in a field of 28. 19 did not finish.

1992 Furnace Creek 508 Results:

1) Muffy Ritz, 35, Ketchum, ID – 30:54:36

1) Eric House, 30, Palo Alto, CA – 29:54:37

2) Gerald Tessmer, 26, Bramsche, Germany – 34:55:55

3) Rick Adolph, 33, Sunnyvale, CA – 35:23:33

4) Frank Goulard, 40, Beaverton, OR – 35:40:45

5) Ron Shepston, 45, Fountain Valley, CA – 38:49:27

6) Brian Stark, 44, Paso Robles, CA – 40:17:30

7) James Byrnes, 24, Laramie, WY – 41:25:53

8) Barry Martin, 40, San Diego, CA – 43:48:36


Our campaign is now heading up the hill and I’m looking for my crew to help me get to the top and then to finish. Just as with my race on a bicycle, this is a race that is not about me but about a team who all have a common goal.

Many of you have already been extremely generous financially and emotionally. For that I’m grateful. We need to take this to the next level.

For my part I’m working from 7:15 am ’til 11-11:30 pm every day. Included in this is about 20 hours a week of call time calling people and directly asking for money.

I’m going to events like the one put on by my friends Dante “hekebolos” Adkins and Netroots Coordinator Dave “dday” Dayen for The Responsible Plan with Darcy Burner and Mary Palent. This event was held at the house of the amazing Rick Jacobs, founder of The Courage Campaign, and Shaun Kadlec.

In May we will be having two fundraisers with Ambassador Joe Wilson. We’re hoping to get his wife Valerie Plame, but we don’t know if we can pull that off. The venues and exact dates and times will be published once arrangements have been completed.

So, we’re busting butt to win the primary. Here’s how you can help.

Latest Blog Button


We have done a cash flow projection for the final two months of the campaign. There are 7 weeks ’til the primary on Jun 3rd. The following is a monthly end-of-week cash projection.

This is an opportunity to encourage others who share our vision to join in definable goals right along with the direct campaign staff and candidate. The campaign can’t do it alone. We need your help.

Voter contact $36,000
Email $3,000
Robo Calls $8,500
Mail $10,000
Radio $4,500
Predictive Dialer $10,000
E-Campaign $3,750
Google Ads $1,750
Website Update $2,000
Overhead $19,500
Erik $7,000
Theo $9,000
Office $1,500
Printing $2,000
Fundraising Costs $5,250
Joe Wilson $2,000
Direct Mail $1,500
Misc $2,250
Signs $2,500
GOTV $1,000
Misc. $2,250
Total $70,250

From these elements and cash flow projections we get a weekly cash income needs:

Week 1               $13,250
Week 2 $7,750
Week 3 $7,750
Week 4 $24,250
Week 5 $6,750
Week 6 $4,750
Week 7 $5,750

Latest Blog Button

Okay, that’s it. Are we going to be the source of the change we want to make or are we going to let others decide for us? We stand here with an opportunity that rarely presents itself to those in our position. We can ignore that or we can seize it as a community.

I started as a frustrated citizen, now I’m running for Congress but this campaign is not about me. It’s about all of us coming together to make the changes we know need to be made. This is about changing the character of our government to one which cares about America and Americans.

The choice is ours.