Thursday, June 04, 2009

DCCC Starting To Target California Republican Incumbents


Lifestyles of the rich and Republican, representing 2 of the hardest hit districts in the country

Maybe you remember a big buzz early last month about how the Democratic Party was planning to target as many as eight Republican-held congressional seats in 2010. Roll Call covered it with a 3-page feature by Josh Kurtz, Democrats See Golden Pickup Opportunities in California. Normally national Democrats look at California as a political ATM, a place to go for campaign contributions, but not a place for serious targeting, primarily because the two very corrupt political parties conspired on an incumbent protection plan that has left the state hopelessly gerrymandered and next to impervious to change. And then came the 2006 earthquake when a grassroots Democrat, Jerry McNerney-- with nothing from the DCCC but sabotage and antipathy-- ousted one of the most powerful and entrenched Republican incumbents, Dirty Dick Pombo.

With that in mind, even the DCCC couldn't help but notice that Obama beat McCain in 8 California congressional districts with Republican incumbents. Although conventional wisdom has Dan Lungren, Ken Calvert and Mary Bono Mack looking the most vulnerable, the other 5 shouldn't be looking for a free ride. The fact that voter registration and demographic trends are all looking bad for the GOP makes it likely that most of them will have vigorous challenges in 2010.
Without any help from the national party, a few no-name Democrats came very close to ousting well-entrenched House Republicans last year, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is poised to do all it can to win those seats this cycle. Picking up seats in her home state will also be a priority of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“California’s unemployment rate is in double digits and the state has been hit hard by the housing crisis, yet out of touch Republican Members have repeatedly voted against measures to help save and create jobs and restore the economy,” said DCCC spokesman Andrew Stone, previewing a line of attack that will be used against Golden State GOP incumbents in the months to come.

Today the DCCC fired a shot across the bows of 8 Republicans, Brian Bilbray (CA-50), Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Ken Calvert (CA-44), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46), Gary Miller (CA-42 ), Kevin McCarthy (CA-22) and Dan Lungren (CA-03). Some of these districts went for Obama and some didn't, but all of them have significant Hispanic populations that are not happy with the way the first Hispanic nominee for the Supreme Court is being treated by the Republican Party.

Sonia Sotomayor has captured the imagination of Hispanics in California but instead of joining them in their happiness, the GOP and their vicious media surrogates are unfairly targeting her and smearing her. And none of these Republican incumbents have come to her defense. Let's take one of the most likely to be defeated in 2010, Mary Bono-Mack, an inconsequential backbencher who inherited the seat when her husband, Sonny Bono, skied into a tree and died. Many in the district thought they were somehow voting for Cher. Like most members of Congress, she lives in Washington, of course, and has lost touch with her constituents, who have drastically changed in a demographic sense since she was first elected. But Riverside County isn't even her secondary home! She recently married far right Florida extremist Connie Mack (no not a gay wedding; Connie is a male) and when they're not in DC, they're in their home in Fort Meyers, Florida. Look at this tweet from yesterday:

If she spent any time in her district it wouldn't come as something so out of the ordinary for her. And this year she has a major problem, Palm Springs' popular mayor, Steve Pougnet. CA-45 is one of the most Hispanic districts in the country represented by a Republican-- just under 40%. So the message the DCCC sent out today is sure to reverberate:
Representative Mary Bono Mack Refuses to Denounce Radical Right’s Offensive Remarks Against Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Last week, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich joined the fringe voices of the radical right in making the outrageous claim that President Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, is a “racist.” Judge Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic member of the U.S. Supreme Court in American history. For a week, Representative Mary Bono-Mack refused to denounce Gingrich’s shameful rhetoric and now, even with the former GOP Speaker himself acknowledging that he shouldn't have called Judge Sotomayor a racist, Bono Mack remains silent. 

Gingrich is headlining a lucrative fundraising dinner to benefit House Republicans on June 8th.
“For five days, Representative Mary Bono Mack had a simple choice to make: She could strongly denounce Newt Gingrich’s shameful rhetoric or stay silent and just take his money,” said Ryan Rudominer, National Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “With five days to go until the fundraising dinner with Gingrich, will Representative Mary Bono Mack finally speak out against the radical right or continue to remain silent and take their campaign cash”

Ken Calvert's neighboring district is 35% Hispanic; Gary Miller's is 24%; Kevin McCarthy's is 21%; Brian Bilbray's is 19%; Dana Rohrabacher's is 17% and Lungren's is 11%.

Of course it isn't only among Californians or among Hispanics that the Republican instinct to smear is getting it in trouble with voters. A new survey from Democracy Corps shows that most voters (56%) approve of the nomination while only 27% have been taken in by the ceaseless vituperation from Fox, Hate Talk Radio and extremist Republicans like Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Pat Roberts (R-KS).
Once again the base of the Republican Party finds itself at odds with the rest of the electorate. While conservative Republicans strongly disapprove of her nomination, Sotomayor earns at least plurality support from moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats. If Republicans give in to the right-wing activists calling for a bare-knuckled fight against Sotomayor, they run the risk of alienating not only Hispanics and women (about 65 percent of whom approve of the nomination), but the entire electorate outside of their base as well.

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At 9:52 PM, Anonymous soyinkafan said...

What a photo, that one really says it all.

Bono comes across as a pleasant person in person (so I'm told), but she has no respect for large segments of her district. Back in 2006 an employee of a local radio station came to the Democrats with a printout of an email from Mary's blackberry congratulating the hosts on their screamingly funny depiction of Coachella as a third world toilet. Roth didn't try to use it because we couldn't verify its authenticity, and the Latino staffers shrugged it off with, what's new, we all know that about Bono. But I still regret that we didn't make sure that the folks in Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage knew that about Bono. She won't disavow the right wing radio blowhards because she's a fan.

At 3:39 AM, Anonymous Curtis L. Walker said...

My Prayer and Emails To Democratic Party have been answered. Finally Tom McClintock (CD-4) is targeted!

Thanks for this post/information.

I should not be this excited at 3:30 AM! :)

Will share with the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee, which I am a member, and my contacts in PLACER COUNTY (Blood Red County).

I can be reached at my blog if you need a view from the ground in CD-4.

Curtis L. Walker
Obama National Delegate 2008


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