Is Jerry’s Kern’s Assembly Run Serious?

Brian BradyBrian Brady 3 Comments


Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern announced his candidacy for the 76th Assembly District last week. The UT-San Diego reported that Kern will probably earn the endorsement of the incumbent Assemblyman, Rocky Chavez. Chavez is vacating the seat to challenge California Attorney General Kamala Harris for the open US Senate seat in 2016. Kern signaled that he will work to solve the “hot” problems reported in the media:

Kern, who has been on the Oceanside council since 2004, said he is seeking the position because he wants to help advance regional issues such as education, water, and jobs.

Who doesn’t want plenty of clean water, educated children, and a plethora of jobs? While Kern’s goals are admirable, I wonder two things: (1) Will Kern take the stand that government interference contributes to the water shortage, poor (but expensive) public education, and unemployment?  AND… (2) Is his campaign a serious one or just a ruse to keep Republicans out of the race should Chavez decide to abandon his US Senate bid? I speculated earlier that Chavez might find the appeal of incumbency too great to challenge Harris:

I don’t see that happening. I think Chavez’ bid for US Senate is genuine but the retired Marine knows how to count. While I think he is a much better choice than Harris, this is California — Republicans haven’t been competitive in a statewide race since Schwarzenegger. Chavez will have to weigh his options of launching a shoe-string, statewide campaign or retain his comfortable incumbency.

I also speculated that Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood might run for the 78th Assembly seat. That seems unlikely now that Wood just suffered his third stroke in four years last week. Today, it looks like Jerry Kern is the anointed candidate for the 76th Assembly District. His 11-year track record as a Councilman in the District’s largest city certainly make him a worthy contender but his close relationship to Chavez leaves me wondering if he isn’t just holding Chavez’ place until next year. Kern can run for Assembly without resigning from his Oceanside Council seat.

I think it’s important to draft a conservative for this race — I like Vista Council Member Amanda Young Rigby. Rigby has a solid pro-market, pro-freedom record on the Vista Council. She is often the lone vote for economic freedom on a  Council comprised of protectionists. Drafting a serious conservative candidate is important if one believes that the Chavez/Kern alliance could result in a last minute ballot shift next year.

The 76th Assembly District isn’t the solid red District it once was. It still has an 8-point Republican advantage but the growth in DTS voters puts it in play.  Oceanside Council members Esther Sanchez and Chuck Lowery, Encinitas Councilman Tony Kranz, and Vista Councilman Cody Campbell are all credible Democrats in the changing District.  If my fears are confirmed, and Chavez chooses to defend his Assembly seat rather than challenge Harris, he could face a rising Democratic star next November.  He should ultimately prevail but Republicans would do well to draft a serious, conservative candidate to keep this seat.

Jerry Kern is a fine, moderate Republican but this is a District which will choose a well-defined conservative over a well-defined liberal. Republicans need to find that conservative quickly.


Comments 3

  1. The fact that Chavez (presumably) endorses Kern is a bad sign. Chavez will make a fine RINO candidate to take a long shot run for U.S. Senate (the best we can hope for in California these days), but we need a more fiscally conservative successor to his Assembly seat. And it’s a district seat that the GOP will win, if they don’t drop the ball.

    I don’t know all the players in that area (I’m woefully ignorant of the stable of potential GOP candidates), but I’d say that Amanda Young Rigby is CERTAINLY a better choice than Jerry Kern.

    NOTE: This is not a good district for a social conservative (those seats are “inland”) — we need someone who is a strong, bullheaded FISCAL conservative who emphasizes financial prudence, while hopefully is more moderate on social issues.

  2. I would like to address Jerry Kern’s record as a fiscal conservative while I served with him on the Oceanside City Council from Dec 2010 to Dec 2014. We ended deficit spending and passed four balanced budgets in a row with no tax increases, raised the city reserves from zero to six million, restored the city’s credit rating, froze pensionable base salaries, implemented real pension reform, capped medical expenses, and restored full Transnet road funding from SANDAG. That is a record that favorably compares to any city in California.

    Jerry led the fight to reduce government regulations on business. We reformed underground fees, implemented fee deferral until occupancy,streamlined the building permit process, and clarified the building height requirement at the beach, and he was always ready to assist any business that needed help working with city staff. Jerry also supported my effort to remove red light cameras. Once again a record that favorably compares to any elected official in California.

    Jerry and Rocky served together on the Oceanside City Council for many years and have supported each other in many races, but please don’t assume their views are identical.

    While we have many elected officials with great records, including Amanda Rigby in Vista, I can say from first hand knowledge that Jerry Kern is a great fiscal conservative and a great free market advocate.

  3. Brian,

    Please explain your logic here:

    “The 78th Assembly (I think you meant 76th) District isn’t the solid red District it once was. It still has an 8-point Republican advantage but the growth in DTS voters puts it in play.”

    “Jerry Kern is a fine, moderate Republican but this is a District which will choose a well-defined conservative over a well-defined liberal. Republicans need to find that conservative quickly.”

    So your solution to a district that appears to be trending towards becoming a swing district is to have a more conservative candidate?

    Brian, would the future of the Republican Party in San Diego County be better served if say we had a more conservative candidate for Mayor? Considering one could argue that Mayor Faulconer is a moderate Republican.

    Admin note: The 78th has been fixed to 76th. Thanks.

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