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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

More California Blues for the GOP

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.

California's 50th CD should be an easy hold for the GOP.  It might not be.

Rachel Bade and John Bresnahan at Politico:
The criminal investigation into Rep. Duncan Hunter is intensifying as a grand jury in San Diego questions multiple former aides about whether the California Republican improperly diverted political funds for personal use.
Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed Hunter’s parents, as well as a female lobbyist with whom many people close to the congressman believe he had a romantic relationship, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation.

The Justice Department is trying to determine whether hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hunter’s campaign account were spent improperly on his family and friends. Hunter already sold his home to pay back what even he now acknowledges were improper charges, moving his wife and kids in with his parents while he mostly lives in his Capitol Hill office.
It’s a stark reversal of fortune for Hunter, 41, whose friends once considered him a hero. The ex-Marine served three tours as an artillery officer in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting in some of the bloodiest battles in Fallujah.
Now, the five-term lawmaker’s Republican colleagues worry that he’s on the brink of personal and political ruin. Some Republicans are urging GOP leaders to force him to retire, worried that his troubles could cost the party another seat in its uphill effort to maintain the House majority.
Ed Kilgore at New York:
A new PPIC poll indicates that Feinstein’s doing pretty well, leading de León by a robust 46 percent to 17 percent margin among likely voters, with significant leads among virtually every subgroup.

Of perhaps even greater significance, there were no Republican Senate candidates with sufficiently viable campaigns for PPIC to even include them in the poll. With less than a month left before the candidate filing deadline for the June 5 nonpartisan primary, that almost certainly means that for the second election year in a row, Republicans won’t have a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the November general election (under the top-two system, the top two finishers, regardless of party or percentage, advance to the general election).
And while California Republicans do have three candidates for governor this year, that could be two too many for the party to place someone in the general election. The new PPIC poll shows Democrats Gavin Newsom (the lieutenant governor and retiring Governor Jerry Brown’s heir apparent) and Antonio Villaraigosa (former mayor of Los Angeles) dominating a large field with 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The top-performing Republican, state legislator Travis Allen, is at 8 percent, and it’s not entirely clear his candidacy will survive recently disclosed allegations of sexual harassment in 2013. The other two Republicans in the race hold a combined 10 percent of the vote.
...
If, as appears likely, there are no Republicans at the top of the ballot for the Senate and gubernatorial races in November, it could have a baleful effect on GOP turnout. And that could be a real problem for Republicans trying to hold onto six endangered U.S. House seats.