Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Will The Extreme Right Make It Easier For Ami Bera (D-CA) To Get Reelected?


Republican civil war comes to Sacramento County

Monday I went to a public forum with three of L.A.'s most progressive congressmembers, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Janice Hahn and our old friend Judy Chu. Remember my proposal last week calling for progressives to stop paying dues to the DCCC while Steve Israel is still chairman? They all seemed open to the idea and even started riffing on how progressives could give contributions directly to fellow progressives instead, like Carol Shea-Porter, John Tierney, and... Ami Bera. Ami Bera?

You really have to stretch the meaning of "progressive" to fit him into the definition. First off, as soon as he was elected last year, he joined the corrupt Wall Street friendly New Dems. And his voting record is, at beat "moderate," at worst reactionary. He and conservative multimillionaire Scott Peters are the only California freshman Democrats with ProgressivePunch crucial vote scores below 60%. On all the key votes Bera has taken his orders from Steve Israel, thinking more in terms of placating implacable Republicans than serving the needs of his own constituents. But, in the interest of amity at the forum, I just let it slide. His Republican opponent won't.

Earlier this month, I warned that if moderate ex-congressman Doug Ose gets the GOP nomination, he would beat Bera, particularly after Bera-- who later changed his mind-- came out backing Steve Israel's pro-bombing Syria agenda, despite how unpopular that position is with California voters. As I said at the time, CA-07 is one of the only districts in the whole country with a zero PVI, signifying that it is a true swing district. Obama beat both McCain (52-46%) and Romney (51-47%) in the district, which basically encompasses the suburbs east of Sacramento, including Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights and Elk Grove. The district is entirely within Sacramento County. Bera took out incumbent Dan Lungren, 119,726 (51%) to 115,902 (49%), outspending Lungren last year $3,531,711 to $2,716,574. That's very close and Bera needs every Democrat in the district to turn out for him again. Many in the base don't like him and they will just sit this one out.

At the time the NRCC announced a big coup, the successful recruitment of former Congressman Doug Ose (1999-2205). Ose was a mainstream conservative, not a teabagger type. He had pledged to serve only 3 terms so he didn't run again in 2005. He tried running again in 2008 but was beaten by libertarian right-winger Tom McClintock in a bitter primary. McClintock's former chief of staff, Igor Birman, is also going to run. Perennial candidate Elizabeth Emken is also running. If the primary gets ugly enough, Bera could possibly survive, but right now, I'd rate his chances at 50% at best. If Ose gets through the primary and comes out strongly against the war and Bera supports it, Ose will win.

Yesterday, Bera got a lucky break: FreedomWorks endorsed Birman and if he beats Ose, that will be a big advantage for Bera.
“The constituents of California deserve better than a rank and file follower or a recycled politician searching for another turn in the spotlight,” FreedomWorks PAC President Matt Kibbe said in a release. “Igor is a policy expert who understands exactly what needs to be done to get our country back on track and he has the spine to stand up and make sure it happens.”

...Many conservatives do not like Ose, who retired from Congress in 2005 due to self-imposed term limits.

In 2008, he attempted to return to Congress, but lost a brutal Republican primary to McClintock. In that race, the Club for Growth spent heavily against Ose and it has suggested it may look for an alternative candidate this cycle as well.
No doubt Bera and the New Dems have their fingers crossed.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home