Friday, February 16, 2018

DCCC Big Foots Into Orange County-- Excellent News... For the NRCC


The DCCC has mostly stayed out of the California Democratic primaries... but that changed this week. So far they've just been getting some of their puppet organizations to weigh in on the side of their corrupt conservative recruits. Yesterday Cook's David Wasserman had a fine description of what's going on in CA-25 (Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley and Simi Valley) but for a post entitled Battle for the House: Are Crowded Democratic Primaries a Blessing or a Curse? he missed the whole point of what's going on in the state now. Maybe he'll follow up another day. His post makes the case for why Katie Hill should be the Democratic nominee-- even without mentioning the poll that shows Katie beating Steve Knight 53-40% while the widely disliked corporate carpetbagger, Bryan Caforio, essentially tied with Knight.
Katie Hill, 30, is a first-time candidate who may be one of the most impressive Democratic contenders of 2018. The daughter of a nurse and a police officer, she studied nursing herself before shifting to the non-profit sector, and by 29 she was running the largest anti-homelessness non-profit in California, with an annual budget over $40 million. But her ability to navigate a tricky primary may hold the key to Democrats' chances of flipping a critical district.

Republicans' biggest structural advantages in the House-- think geography, incumbency and money-- have been weakening all cycle. Pennsylvania's GOP map just got thrown out, at least 32 Republicans aren't seeking reelection, and over three dozen GOP incumbents were out-raised by Democrats in the final quarter of 2017-- including GOP Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25), whom Hill out-raised. In the past, these kinds of trends have foreshadowed wave elections.

But as primary season approaches, the explosion of candidate and donor interest on the Democratic side has a caveat: in a lot of races, Democrats suddenly have more well-funded hopefuls than they know what to do with.

In fact, crowded fields of Democrats-- there are at least 43 GOP-held seats where at least two Democrats have at least $100,000 in the bank-- have become a GOP talking point. According to the Republican narrative, primaries will force Democrats to spend all their money attacking each other and running far to the left. As a result, their nominees will enter the general election bruised, broke and more aligned with the Resistance than swing voters.

So, are these congested Democratic primaries a blessing or a curse? The answer: it depends on the situation, but overall, Republicans shouldn't count on them to save their majority.

First, it's important to remember that competitive primaries didn't stop GOP candidates from winning in 2010-- in fact, many races forced them to hone their skills and helped them get known earlier. Second, for Democrats, nominating a candidate who emerges from a primary broke (a problem that can be fixed) should be less of a fear than nominating a candidate who doesn't fit his or her district (a problem that can't).

Case in point: California's 25th District, located in northern Los Angeles County. As he was in 2016, Rep. Steve Knight is once again one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents in the House. Knight is a dyed-in-the-wool sophomore conservative with an in-your-face reputation (in 2015, he told a protester "I'll drop your ass") sitting in a district that voted for Hillary Clinton 50 percent to 43 percent. He's also a relatively weak fundraiser known for running low-budget races.

So how did Knight win reelection in 2016 with 53 percent while President Trump lost the district by seven points? And how is he the last Republican from LA County remaining in Congress? The answer: Democrats' star recruit turned out to be a less than ideal fit for the district.

The 25th CD is anchored by northern Los Angeles County and is getting more diverse (38 percent percent of its residents are Latino) and less Republican every year. But culturally, it's worlds apart from downtown Los Angeles. Despite its growth, Santa Clarita likes to think of itself as a small town, and the nearby Antelope Valley is lower-income and heavily dependent on agriculture. Many voters own guns, and a substantial number own and ride horses.

...In 2016, Knight lucked out when Democrats nominated Bryan Caforio, a partner at a downtown Los Angeles law firm who grew up in upscale Orange County, went to Yale Law School, and moved into the 25th CD to run. Caforio emphasized that his parents were public school teachers, but Republicans mercilessly attacked him as a "Beverly Hills lawyer" propped up by "limousine liberal" donors. It worked, despite Trump's unpopularity.

As a young, female political neophyte, Hill would offer a jarring contrast to Knight, a longtime politician. But unlike Caforio, she wouldn't be susceptible to the carpetbagger label. In fact, she might be Democrats' dream candidate for the down-home, independent-minded 25th CD.

Hill grew up in both the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita, the daughter of a long line of military veterans. She attended Cal State Northridge, owns guns, and lives with her husband on a farm where they raise horses, goats and chickens. Until recently, she didn't consider herself especially political, but campaigned to pass an anti-homelessness ballot initiative in 2016 and confronted Knight about the GOP healthcare bill at a 2017 town hall.

She's garnered the endorsements of EMILY's List and nearby Democratic Rep. Judy Chu. In the final quarter of 2017, she raised $248,000, slightly more than Knight. She's down-to-earth, talks openly about family members' struggles with addiction and earned praise for sharing the story of her unplanned teenage pregnancy via a Facebook video. She describes herself as a pragmatist who didn't have a strong preference between Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2016.

There's just one catch: Caforio, 34, is running again in 2018, and he and Hill are vying fiercely to advance to the general election in the June 5 top-two primary. Caforio carries over plenty of name ID from the 2016 race, as well as institutional support from the likes of [fellow corporate whore] Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a host of labor unions. Caforio is seeking to run as the "true progressive," and in January won the party pre-endorsement convention with 73 percent of delegate votes.

California's party endorsements aren't binding or especially predictive; after all, Caforio himself beat out a Democratic party-endorsed former LA police officer in the 2016 top-two primary. But according to one private mid-January survey, he narrowly led Hill, likely owing to his residual name recognition. And having been on the ballot before is extremely valuable in a district covered by the cost-prohibitive LA media market where paid communication is limited to digital and mail.

Hill has tied Caforio in fundraising and has almost four more months to close the name ID gap, but Caforio may also feel pressure to attack Hill. For Caforio, who has defended large corporations in major suits, chastising a non-profit executive could risk backfiring. Nonetheless, his campaign could go after Hill's gun collection, skepticism towards full single-payer healthcare or six-figure non-profit salary in an effort to drive a wedge between her and Democratic primary voters.

Another complication for Hill is the candidacy of another female millennial Democrat with a non-profit background, geologist/volcanologist Jess Phoenix. Phoenix, 36, grew up in Colorado and didn't move into the district until recently. She co-founded a science education nonprofit, has appeared on CNN to talk about her candidacy, and has received some money and support from fellow scientists. She's not a top-tier candidate, but could siphon primary votes from Hill.
Goal ThermometerThe real problem in California though-- which has all the operatives' hair on fire and which the DCCC is using as an excuse for driving progressives out of the races-- isn't exemplified by CA-25. It's the top two jungle primary which could result in lots of Democrats splintering the Democratic vote so badly that 2 Republicans could slip into the general-- with no Democrat. The 2 seats most susceptible to that would be CA-39 and CA-49, neither of which has an incumbent. Roll Call, a DCCC stenography outlet, explained it early yesterday:
California Democrats at the federal, state and local levels have been engaged in conversations about the nightmare scenario in which no Democrat makes the ballot in November, especially in GOP districts they view as key to winning back the House.

Members of the California delegation gathered at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday to discuss a “variety of strategies and political items,” according to a source familiar with the meeting.

And Democratic lawmakers are already having discussions with candidates about stepping aside.

“I know that one of the hardest things to do is to get someone to not run for Congress. The only thing harder than that is to get someone to not run for Congress who’s been running for a year,” California Rep. Ted Lieu said.

“And so you can’t really force someone to not run for Congress if they want to,” said Lieu, a DCCC vice chairman. “We’re just trying to get information to campaigns and urging the ones who have not received traction to do the right thing.”

Lieu said Democrats specifically worry about the prospect of no Democrats advancing in the contests for two recently open GOP-held seats in Southern California: the 39th District, represented by Rep. Ed Royce, and the 49th District, held by Rep. Darrell Issa. Both Issa and Royce are retiring.

Both districts are among the seven Democratic targets in California that are represented by Republicans but voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Five Democrats have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run in the 49th District, and seven have filed to run in the 39th District.

Sam Jammal, a candidate in the 39th District, lags behind four other Democrats in fundraising-- though all of them have made significant personal loans to their campaigns. He said Wednesday that no one has asked him to drop out of the race.

A onetime chief of staff to California Rep. Tony Cárdenas, Jammal said his connections to the district make him a strong candidate, and he wants to make his case to voters.

“My focus has to be on giving them something compelling to vote for,” he said.

But Lieu said the goal is for the Democratic fields to narrow before the March 9 filing deadline.

One Democratic official stressed that the 39th and 49th districts presented the greatest risk to Democrats. But others said crowded races in some of the other targeted districts also risk seeing the strongest candidate not making it through the primary.

The official noted that several Republicans are also running in these districts, so they could face a similar problem of splintering the GOP vote.

Some Democrats are worried there could be a backlash if politicians are seen as taking sides in some primaries.

“People don’t like, frankly, the D.C. establishment to pick their candidates,” said California freshman Rep. Nanette Barragán. “They want their local candidates. They want people they believe in and don’t like hearing about D.C. getting involved.”

Barragán won her race in 2016 against a Democrat who was backed by the state and local party establishment. She said any candidate who is willing to put in the time and effort should run for Congress, but conceded there are also candidates who may not be completely dedicated and could end up splitting the Democratic vote.

Lieu and other Democrats said grass-roots activists were just as concerned about the crowded fields, and they were all engaged in discussions about how to move forward.

“I am concerned about making sure that this process is done as inclusively as possible,” Eric Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, said in a phone interview when asked about potential backlash.

“I’m more concerned about electing Democrats who will restore us the majority in the House,” Bauman said.

Some Democrats have already begun discussions with campaigns that they believe do not have a chance of winning the primary.

Lieu said they have shared opposition research and polling numbers with campaigns to demonstrate they do not have a path to victory. He declined to identify the campaigns he has contacted.

Cárdenas, who chairs the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said he has also had discussions with candidates.

“It’s never telling anybody what to do,” he said. “But it’s just saying, ‘Look, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I’ve won and lost races.’ And sometimes it’s either timing or sometimes things aren’t coming together. And maybe it’s an opportunity to think honestly, and say, ‘Am I in it for ego, or am I in it to be the representative?’”

Cárdenas, who also did not say which campaigns he spoke to, said the reaction from candidates has been “pretty resistant.”

Bauman said the congressional delegation has been very engaged in discussions about the crowded primaries. He also said he had been working with the DCCC and other stakeholders to make candidates aware of the impact of crowded fields.

No California hopefuls are in the DCCC’s Red to Blue program, which connects candidates to committee resources. But the committee has not ruled out playing in the California primaries.

“Grassroots activists have put these races into play, and they deserve to have a Democrat on the ballot this November,” said DCCC spokesman Drew Godinich. “As has been the case in the past in California’s open seats, all options are on the table in order to ensure that happens.”

Other Democrats are taking matters into their own hands.

Two operatives behind Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in the Alabama Senate special election last year launched a new super PAC on Tuesday called CA-BAM (merging the two states’ names). They hope to identify the Democrats who would have the best chance of winning in November, and potentially provide data to thin out some of the crowded fields.

“In that case, what groups like ours can do is not just gauge the best candidates for the fall, but more importantly try and figure out who the strongest candidates are for June,” said pollster Paul Maslin, who launched CA-BAM with media consultant Joe Trippi.

“And then frankly somebody has got to go to the ones who are down the list and see if they can be convinced to end their candidacy,” Maslin said.
Yeah... Joe Trippi, certainly one of the least honest brokers in all of Democrat world... let's trust him to get paid off to pick our candidates. How about the crooked and inept right-winger the DCCC hired as the West Coast staffer, Kyle something or other, the former campaign manager for right-of-center worthless goof ball Raul Ruiz (who was part of that meeting) and who's main concern is making sure no progressives get into Congress. A major part of the problem is that the DCCC sent several ridiculous candidates from CA-48 (Rohrabacher's district) to run in CA-39 which no one thought they could win anyway... until incumbent Ed Royce announced he was retiring. So conservative self-funding carpetbaggers Gil Cisneros (the DCCC's top pick and the least likely to win anything) and Mai-Khanh Tran are now in a race with an even bigger self-funder (also a carpetbagger), Andy Thorburn, and two local progressives with the ability to actually beat a Republican, Sam Jammal and Jay Chen.

The biggest spender in the race so far is "ex"-Republican Cisneros, a former slumlord who will never have even a remote chance no matter how much he spends, has given himself $1,352,762 and has spent-- not counting all the bribes he's paid out for endorsements-- $588,850. This guy, who can't open his mouth without lying, and who voted for McCain and Palin instead of Barack Obama, knows nothing about issues that motivate Democratic voters. And this is who the DCCC wants in the race? I've been told from sources who know, that the DCCC fully understands that Cisneros can't win but they don't want to alienate him and his bank account and don't care if they lose the district-- even though Hillary won it 51.5% to 42.9%. The DCCC thinks they know better, even though local Democrats disagree entirely. This was the result of the pre-endorsement vote: Cisneros (and the other foolish DCCC recruit, Tran), each got exactly ONE (1) vote, for those hundreds of thousands of dollars spent. Maybe Cisneros should just go back to being a Republican where trying to buy a congressional district is considered perfectly fine and no one ever minds.

Sometime people ask me "what's so terrible about Cisneros? Is he really the worst candidate the DCCC has this cycle. Is it just because you hate bribery so much?" No, there's lots more that's terrible about him than paying off other crooked politicians for endorsements and I've been covering it here at DWT since he first popped up. Let me give you a few things-- truly just a few. This is what the DCCC thinks is a fine candidate:
Cisneros registered to vote as a Republican in San Diego County in 1999, and registered again as a Republican in L.A. in 2008
Voted fior ands donated to McCain/Palin
Switched to Democratic Party in 2015 when he started thinking about running for office
Though he calls himself a Democrat, now Cisneros says his views haven't changed since he was a Republican, and though he lies about everything, this one I believe him on.

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At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Lieu was in charge of the west coast. Why is he allowing this?

Could it be that lieu has decided to endorse some of Pelosi's checks for his own re-election?

Go, democraps, go. You may stand for hate, war, guns, corporations and billionaires. But at least you're not republicans.

like choosing between fucking hitler and fucking Himmler. gotta go with Himmler... right?!?!?


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