Seema Mehta and Phil Willon report at the Los Angeles Times that San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer will not run for governor of California.
Both House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and state Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte had urged Faulconer to run.
A strong GOP top-of-the-ticket candidate would be expected to increase Republican turnout next fall. Faulconer’s decision not to run could impact some hotly contested congressional races in California, and potentially affect Republican efforts to retain control of the House of Representatives.
If a Republican gubernatorial candidate fails to make the general election, creating a Democrat-on-Democrat race in November 2018, that could depress GOP turnout and affect those targeted congressional races.
“It leaves the Republicans without an obvious front-runner that the donors would have confidence in,” said GOP strategist Rob Stutzman, who previously advised former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and 2010 GOP nominee Meg Whitman. But “it still depends on the nature of the race next November. It’s too early to say.”Faulconer probably would have lost. Republican leaders knew that he was an underdog, but they hoped that his showing would be decent enough to prevent a downticket blowout. Now the likeliest outcomes for the GOP are 1. A very weak general-election candidate, or 2. No candidate at all.
The stench of Trump does not help, either.