The big news in North County San Diego is that Darrell Issa won’t seek re-election:
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Ca., will not seek re-election later this year, opening up another battleground in the deep blue state as Republicans and Democrats spar for control of the House.
Issa’s decision to leave Congress follows the announced retirement of Rep. Ed Royce, R-Ca., earlier this week. He announced the move in a statement on Wednesday.
“While my service to California’s 49th District will be coming to an end, I will continue advocating on behalf of the causes that are most important to me, advancing public policy where I believe I can make a true and lasting difference, and continuing the fight to make our incredible nation an even better place to call home,” Issa said in the statement.
This opens up a chance for a Republican to replace him. The Democratic candidates running to replace Issa have a signficant head start on fundraising. Republicans gotta get this one right or we lose a seat in the House.
My guess is that every North County City Council member, Assembly member, and State Senator will consider their chances in the next few weeks. My short list of potential candidates would include: County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, County Supervisor Bill Horn, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, Vista Councilmember Amanda Rigby, Vista Deputy Mayor John Franklin, Vista Mayor Judy Ritter, Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall, Assemblyman Bill Brough, State Senator Pat Bates, and maybe Aliso Viejo Mayor Mike Munzing. I am sure another half dozen political newcomers will consider a run as well.
Horn, Abed and Munzing don’t live in the District. They can still run, but that can be used against them. I can’t see Chavez getting much support from Republicans after he broke his taxes promise — if he runs, he’s a vanity candidate. Gaspar is new in her job as County Supervisor and doesn’t have much name recognition — if she runs, she’s a vanity candidate. Franklin and Rigby are both austere candidates, but their names aren’t well known in Dana Point, Encinitas or Rancho Santa Fe. Brough has no name recognition in San Diego. In my mind, Bates or State Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey are positioned best to run.
I have nothing against Bates, but Harkey is the only candidate who can win this election. This is going to be a tough race with millions of Democratic money thrown at it. Harkey can raise money, has represented several hundred thousand constituents in the District, has an enviable record as the Chairwoman of the Board of Equalization, and has been in elected office in the District since 2004.
More importantly, Diane Harkey is a conservative. She has an A rating from the NRA, California Taxpayers Association, and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. The Capitol Resource Institute rates her 100 percent for policy positions on marriage and the family.
What’s the problem if she can win the seat and she’s also the right fit for conservatives? We have to convince her to run. Harkey is a shoo-in for re-election to the Board of Equalization. She can serve another four years, retire from politics at age 70 (she’s 66 now), and retreat to private life. I wouldn’t blame her if she chose that path but let me make this plea; Diane, we need you to run for Congress and win.
Diane is a fighter. Diane can raise money. Diane is a great campaigner. Diane can run and win and be a great conservative member of Congress. Call her office and tell her you support her.