Golden State Republican Woes

Because of California’s unique primary system where all candidates run on one ticket and the top two advance to the general election (even if they represent the same party), the U.S. Senate race to replace Barbara Boxer will not feature a Republican. Instead, it will feature two Democrats: Rep. Loretta Sanchez and state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

So, we already know that the nation’s most populous state will soon be represented by a woman of color. We also know that Republican voters will not have much incentive to go to the polls. After all, the rabidly anti-Latino Donald Trump is going to get slaughtered in the Golden State, possibly in staggering fashion. Without a governor’s race and with the Senate race strictly an internecine Democratic affair, the average California Republican will be looking all the way down to the House races for a contest they might impact, and there are several districts where they won’t even have a candidate that far down the ballot (e.g. West Los Angeles, Central Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, the South Bay of San Francisco, North Central San Fernando Valley).

Of course, some of them will still vote, and they could be important in some of these Democrat-on-Democrat races. Loretta Sanchez (18% in the primary) will need all of them if she has any hope of beating Kamala Harris (40% in the primary) and becoming the next senator from California.

One fairly prominent Republican who might be (kind of unexpectedly) vulnerable is Rep. Darrell Issa of Northern San Diego. Issa is probably best known for chairing the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which serves as a kind of den for conspiracy theorists on the right. Somewhere on the internet there’s probably a running tally of how many subpoenas Issa has issued to the Obama administration, none of which have amounted to anything.

Last night, Issa received a disappointing 51% in his primary against Democratic challenger, retired Marine Colonel and Iraq War veteran Doug Applegate. His 51%-45% cushion is not very substantial and it’s possible Issa could succumb if some combination of Republican disengagement, engaged and enraged Latinos, and high Democratic interest in the Senate race results in a very bad turnout situation for him.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.