Surprised that DeMaio didn’t run? Just follow the moves.

Barry JantzBarry Jantz 5 Comments


When Carl DeMaio pulled papers for the 50th Congressional District on Monday of last week, while also paying the $1,740 non-refundable filing fee, many thought that was a final decision. He was indeed running against Duncan Hunter.

When he then announced last Friday he wasn’t running, it surprised the same “many.”

Why the heck would he cough up over 1,700 smackers when he could have waited on that part until a final decision?

It’s pretty simple. DeMaio wanted El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells to think the same thing the “many” did, that he was indeed running, hoping somehow Wells would decide to opt out of the race as a result.

Neither DeMaio nor Wells want a Republican split of any anti-Hunter vote.

As Steve Gramm wrote last week in DeMaio’s dilemma, which is a great reality assessment of the Hunter seat situation, “If there is any (even remote) possibility whatsoever that two Republicans, Hunter and another candidate, can make it through the June election and face each other in the run-off, such a possibility goes completely out the window if another ‘name’ Republican now gets in the race.”

There you have it:

  • Wells announced he was running three weeks ago, beating DeMaio to the punch.
  • Early last week DeMaio not only pulled papers to run, he anted up with the filing fee. A strong message that he was actually in — and a risk worth taking with the cash — hoping Wells would see DeMaio was serious and get the mayor to change his mind.
  • Wells, not biting, made it official the next day, finalizing his filing — now he’s on the ballot.
  • That dashed DeMaio’s prior move. Concerned with the odds in the conservative 50th, combined now with a split vote scenario to boot, DeMaio decided it’s a risk of a different level than a mere $1,740, and opted out while announcing he’s staying focused on reversing the gas tax.

This was political chess of a high order. Hunter, however, is still the king on the board. What move comes next is anyone’s guess.


Comments 5

  1. I still believe Duncan will weather the storm. There are some good people, leading imperfect lives. Aside from any recent allegations, he has done much for the military and veteran’s affairs. We’ll see.

  2. Duncan Hunter’s done pretty well from a voting record but he’s squandered his opportunity based on his personal conduct. That said, I don’t know Bill Wells from a hole in the wall and I have to review his voting record but mind this, I’m not one of these “evangelical” conservatives so if that’s going to be his tact to gain traction, he won’t get my vote. Again, I’ll review his record and hear what he has to say.

    This past week, everyone kept telling me DeMaio being gay would ruin any chance in this district. As a resident who’s been here since 2002, I disagree but even if I’m wrong – for me – DeMaio would’ve gotten my vote.

    All that said, Wells better figure out a way to make peace (Wells) with DeMaio if they’re in some sort of rivalry. I have no idea if they are but if they are, Wells can use DeMaio as he has a powerful reach with his radio show. Duncan Hunter will be difficult to unseat and right now, I don’t think Wells has a shot but that can change.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I’m unaware of any bad blood or rivalry between DeMaio and Wells.

    Thanks, HQ!

  4. My prediction: If Hunter is not indicted, he wins. If Hunter IS indicted, he MAY lose.

    Either way, the GOP’s endorsement of Hunter doesn’t speak well of the party. And that unwise endorsement will be highlighted by the opposition, I’m sure.

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