Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Will Steve Israel Lose California Democrats Two Seats Next Year?


Endangered ConservaDems Ami Bera and Scott Peters

A few months ago, when I wrote to a congresswoman who was elected as a grassroots progressive but then started voting like a conservative corporate shill, she blasted back that she's doing exactly what Steve Israel has been telling her to do. Direct quote from her letter: "I am happy to discuss my voting record with you anytime which has been 100 percent with the House Democratic Leadership recommendation for Frontline members." Oh… well then it must be just fine. That's why I contributed money to your campaigns and why I persuaded other people to do likewise… so that you would be "100 percent with the House Democratic Leadership recommendation for Frontline members?" Those recommendations have proven disastrous to Democrats in the past. That's how the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010 happened and how the Republicans came to control the House. And that's why-- despite Obama and the Senate Democrats wiping the floor with the GOP last year-- the House Dems disastrously underperformed and failed to even come close to winning back the House.

The good news in this particular case, is that pressure from her constituents finally seemed to have outweighed Israel's urging that she vote conservatively. She's back to voting more frequently with the Democrats. California freshman Democrats Ami Bera and Scott Peters are still mostly following Israel's stupid advice and voting with the GOP on crucial roll calls.

Let's look at their two districts. Bera, who has already announced he's in favor of bombing Syria-- an extremely unpopular position, although one that sticks with Steve Israel's-- won CA-7 last year, 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%). That's very close and Bera needs every Democrat in the district to turn out for him again. They won't. His ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is a dismal 58.65, even worse than some Blue Dogs. Worth noting: Bera outspent Lungren last year $3,531,711 to $2,716,574.

This week, the NRCC announced a 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 chief of staff, Igor Birman, is probably also going to run-- likely with support from the Club for Growth. 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.

Scott Peters is another wretched freshman. He managed to beat GOP incumbent Brian Bilbray by outspending him $4,352,737 to $2,772,270. Peters was one of the most extravagant self-funders of 2012, putting $2,757,452 of his own (63% of the total raised) into the campaign.

CA-52 includes western San Diego from Imperial Beach, up through Coronado Island and Mission Beach to La Jolla and then north and east to Miramar, Rancho Bernardo and Poway. It's friendlier territory to Democrats, at least on paper. The PVI is D+2 and Obama beat McCain, 55-43%, and Romney, 52-46%. Peters largely rode in on Obama's coattails last year, beating Bilbray 124,746 (51%) to 122,086 (49%). Peters, who joined the corrupt, corporate-oriented New Dems, also has a pretty ghastly voting record, very similar to Bera's-- another zombie who does exactly what Israel recommends. That will hold down grassroots participation next year and probably lose Peters, who is not enthusiastic about spending another $2.7 million of his own to keep the seat.

Worse yet, the NRCC managed to recruit their dream candidate, Carl DeMaio, an openly gay mainstream conservative who announced Tuesday that he not running for mayor but will take on Peters instead. If Peters votes for war and DeMaio says he opposes war, Peters might as well retire and sve himself the trouble and money. Peters, burdened with Steve Israel's model anti-grassroots, Republican-lite voting record is unlikely to inspire enough grassroots Democrats to come out to the polls to bother voting for him. Like Bera.

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At 5:10 PM, Anonymous me said...

she's doing exactly what Steve Israel has been telling her to do ... 100 percent with the House Democratic Leadership recommendation

OMG. No brain, can't think for herself, has no clue what's going on around her.

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly. I live I Bera's district, and even though I despise Lungren with a passion, I won't vote for Bera again unless he changes. I've sent his office emails about it but of course I get the usual form letter response. Oh well...


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