International online polling firm YouGov, surveying for CBS News, is projecting a very tight California race in their latest poll (7/9-18; 1,514 CA likely Democratic primary voters from a pool of 8,760 CA registered voters). The YouGov results find former Vice President Joe Biden holding just a one-point lead over home state Sen. Kamala Harris, 24-23%, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) posting 19 and 16%, respectively. If this were the final result, all four candidates would qualify to split the state’s treasure trove of 416 first ballot delegate votes.
In 2018, after leading the vote counting until the very end when the outcome turned, former Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford/Bakersfield) lost his seat to newcomer agri-businessman T.J. Cox (D). The total vote count of just 862 ballots separated the two candidates in what ended as the lowest turnout seat among California’s 53 CDs (113,616 voters).
Yesterday, Mr. Valadao, who has been quiet since the election, filed a 2020 candidate committee with the Federal Election Commission. While this does not constitute a statement of candidacy, it is a necessary first step. Reported sources close to the ex-Congressman indicate that Mr. Valadao will run and plans to formally announce in August. For his part, Rep. Cox just reported raising $708,501 through the second quarter with a cash-on-hand figure of $483,837.
Quinnipiac University went to the Golden State, site of the March 3rd primary that will yield the largest first ballot delegate count in the country (416), in order to test Democratic preference. Their poll was conducted over the July 10-15 period and featured a respondent pool totaling 1,125 individuals, but only 519 identified themselves as likely Democratic primary voters. Therefore, for a state the size of California, this is a small primary electorate sample.
Nevertheless, the results post home state Sen. Kamala Harris to a small, but significant, 23-21% edge over former Vice President Joe Biden with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) posting 18 and 16%, respectively. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg falls back here with only 3% support.
Indicted San Diego/Orange County US Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) has not yet gone to trial, but already five Republicans have announced their candidacies to replace him, all obviously anticipating there will be a special election early next year. The latest to join the field is investment consultant David Edick, who announced yesterday.
Mr. Edick joins Mayors Matt Rahm and Bill Wells of Temecula and El Cajon, along with former Escondido Mayor Sam Abed. Retired Navy SEAL and ex-congressional candidate Larry Wilske is also in the race. Waiting in the wings are former 49th District US Rep. Darrell Issa and state Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) who are possible candidates.
Last week, it was reported that Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria was publicly considering launching a primary challenge to veteran Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno). Over the weekend, Ms. Soria announced that she will run for Congress. Rep. Costa, first elected to the House in 2004, has had two close general election campaigns, one in 2014 (50.7 – 49.3%) and another in 2010 in the former 20th District (51.7 – 48.3%), and only posted a 53-47% jungle primary result against GOP candidate Elizabeth Heng in 2018.
Under California election law all candidates, regardless of political party preference, are placed on one ballot and the top two advance into the general election. Therefore, the Soria candidacy is not a typical primary challenge in that she could also conceivably face Rep. Costa in the general election.
Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria (D) confirmed yesterday that she is considering launching a Democratic primary challenge against veteran Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno). Though Mr. Costa has been in the House since 2005 and represented the Fresno area in the state legislature since 1978, he has had a few close calls in general elections. Rep. Costa is clearly to the right of Ms. Soria, so a proposed race between the two should be interesting. The California primary is scheduled for March 3rd.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (R-CA), when seeing other Democrats beginning to line up for his congressional seat and realizing he would not be qualifying for future debates, ended his presidential campaign yesterday. He was a minor factor and his exit will not fundamentally change the race. He will now double-back in an attempt to save his House seat in a March 3rd Democratic primary that will likely be contested.
Billionaire Tom Steyer, who was thought to be preparing his own presidential run but announced he would not enter the race at the beginning of the year, is now reportedly close to changing his mind. Reports are suggesting that Mr. Steyer may join the presidential campaign as a late entry. With virtually unlimited personal resources, Steyer could become competitive, but he may be too late to earn a podium in the presidential debates for at least two more sessions.
Retired former US Rep. Darrell Issa (R) confirms rampant speculation that he is considering again becoming a congressional candidate, this time in indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-Alpine) district. The inland 50th CD is adjacent to the coastal 49th District that Mr. Issa represented for nine terms before not seeking re-election in 2018. Several Republicans and ’18 Democratic nominee Ammar Campa-Najjar are making moves in anticipation that a special election will occur early next year once Rep. Hunter’s legal situation is resolved in September.
Mr. Hunter’s estranged wife has already accepted a plea bargain in the campaign finance case and is now helping prosecutors. The Congressman defeated Mr. Campa-Najjar 52-48% last November and was one of only seven Republicans to win a seat in the 53-member California delegation.
As indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-Alpine) campaign finance legal situation continues to weaken as the two sides make moves before a September trial, another Republican just announced his congressional candidacy. Former Escondido Mayor Sam Abed will become a candidate in what is presumed to be an early 2020 special election in a district that continues to elect Republicans even in liberal California.
Already in the presumed race are two other Republican Mayors, Bill Wells of El Cajon and Matt Rahn from Temecula. Retired Navy SEAL and former congressional candidate Larry Wilske is also an announced candidate. Rumors persist that retired Rep. Darrell Issa could also join the Republican primary once a special election is established. The 2018 Democratic nominee who lost 52-48% to an indicted Mr. Hunter, Ammar Campa-Najjar, has already said that he, too, will run again.
Previous reports suggested that the 2020 congressional race for this Orange County congressional seat – freshman Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) unseated veteran Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) here last November – is already virtually set. With the local Republican leadership coalescing around Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel (R), the seemingly last formidable potential candidate has moved into another race. Former state Senator Janet Nguyen (R), who had previously indicated interest in the congressional contest, just filed to run for the Orange County Municipal Water Board. A Rouda-Steel congressional battle will become a national campaign. The 48th CD is one that the Republicans could return to their column.
The Rundown Blog
Before you vote, learn more about the candidates who will support a pro-jobs America.