The shutdown and the CA52 race

Elliot Schroeder Elliot Schroeder 5 Comments


The shutdown fight is over. The media is claiming a debacle for the Republicans.  Back here at home, what are the implications for the upcoming Congressional race in the 52nd district (CA52)?

So that ended badly. I’ll probably tune out the news for the next few days as the liberal revelry with be loud and nauseating. What happened? For the last few months the Democrats were imploding with the AP Flap, NSA, Syria blunder, and the impeding messy start of the Affordable Care Act (LINK). Then Senator Cruz made a Spartan stand to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that many people said wouldn’t happen with this stand-off.  I wrote earlier that policies can’t just be ideas but they actually have to have quantifiable goals (LINK). Some pundits are saying that is what happened with the GOP over the last two weeks – that this fight was about anger against Obama and/or the ACA with no achievable goal.  Sen. Cruz may be a passionate speaker but I don’t think he’s ruled by emotions. Yes, the GOP may have taken a hit in the polls and now the talk is of a civil war in the Republican Party between the “Tea Party” and the “Establishment” (LINK). Yes, Obamacare’s terrible start slipped to the back page probably saving it. But overall,  Cruz came out a winner (LINK). He has anchored himself with the Right and for 2016 that’s where he needs to be.  In the last two presidential races the GOP tried to run centrists like McCain and Romney who started from the middle, moved right for the primary, then tried to go back to the middle again for the general election. It’s confusing to voters and donors and a losing strategy. For Cruz to stand as the Right’s front-runner and then wave off centrists challengers will give him the leeway to soften his tone (but not his stances) for 2016’s general election. It may work and be a surprise for Hillary who seems to have a blindspot for insurgencies (LINK).

So Cruz is a winner in this, despite the GOP brand getting hurt nationally and Obamacare surviving, but what does it mean for CA52?  The redder Congressional Districts are still secure but the contested ones may not be. For CA52, 2014 was looking to be a race about Syria and Obamacare before this. Of course the election is still a ways off, but Scott Peters is sure to use the shutdown now.  Carl DeMaio’s reputation is built on being a tough fiscal fighter.  It doesn’t take much imagination to see that Peters will twist that attribute to make him look like a “shutdown extremist” in my moderate district.  For Kirk Jorgenson, less emphasis on Syria and Obamacare takes out his strong suits.  But this doesn’t have to be a killer for GOP challengers. It’s tough to run against the national GOP image so our candidates need to get in front of it. For DeMaio, this means he has to propose a reform that will prevent future shutdowns but also correct the worst parts of Obamacare that the Democrats can’t defend.  For Jorgenson, likewise a proposal will help but he needs to show how he has the clout to deliver it.

CA52 is part of the greater fight for the House in 2014 and a lot can happen between now and the election. Will the shutdown still be an issue? Share your thoughts!


Comments 5

  1. Great anlalysis. Some thoughts:

    “For DeMaio, this means he has to propose a reform that will prevent future shutdowns but also correct the worst parts of Obamacare that the Democrats can’t defend. ”

    This is Carl’s strong suit. He’s definitely an idea guy and understands the need to put those ideas into plans which can become policy. Most importantly, Carl builds coalitions and caucuses to rally around those policy ideas– his use of “citizen councils” was invaluable. I sdon’t know if he can carry those “councils” to Congress with him but, if he did, he’d be a real “Representative”

    “For Jorgenson, likewise a proposal will help but he needs to show how he has the clout to deliver it.”

    Agreed. Kirk has some smart people on his team but needs to start running things up the flag pole. He has a few strong allies in the foreign policy wing of Congress but DeMaio already has the ear of leadership.

  2. Like Gold, we are Screwed. The GOP is being Tapered out . I am ashamed of San Diego infighting. Who will win the Rep slot. Take a ride down La Jolla Village, and follow the real money.

    Fletcher and Scottie are in like Obama.

  3. I don’t know if this will hurt Carl or Kurt or then the party nationwide. The majority of truly undecided voters have a short term memory when it comes to political issues. Just because this is bad for us know does not necessarily mean it will even be on the mind of the undecideds voters a year from now, let alone, a major issue in the campaign. Make no mistake about it, this has hurt us big time, but just in the short term. Long term, I don’t think this hurts us over the long term.

    That doesn’t mean Peters and the Dems won’t try to make it an issue, just that I do not think it will be a deciding one in the campaign. If it is though, I think Carl DeMaio can handle it, but he has to present his message ( about this and other any subject) in a clear and conceis manner that places the blame on Peters and the Democrats, but also, explains why Republicans and himself offer the better choices.

  4. Sadly the 52nd is precisely the kind of district where the gov. shut down hurts. Just too many folks live in the district that work for entities (UCSD, Research institutes on Torrey Pines Mesa, Defense contractors like SAIC, Northrup, GA) whose paychecks depend upon the federal government working with some stability. Doesn’t make them champions of higher spending but does make them opposed to a shutdown. 14 months a LONG time but what could have been a GOP lean is probably a Dem Lean or even Dem Likely now. Sad.

  5. DeMaio is a good organizer and has his own libertarian set of beliefs which are in some ways compatible to the coasties. Add to that a certain amount of charisma. He will be good at setting the issues and pushing them. The dull boring blase coastie incumbent Peters has his wife’s money. But do the National Dems believe he is salvageable? How much organization can he buy?

    DeMaio was feared as a potential Free Market mayor. Local and national unions went in whole hog for Filner, some locals busting their banks. Filner generated support from his decades of loyal Democrat Socialist activism. DeMaio still strikes fear in the hearts of the Left. But, the 52nd is not the city.

    In the end positive,enthusiastic DeMaio supporters could not GOTV as well as fear driven Filner supporters. Fourteen months in politics is a long time, plenty of time to frame issues your way. DeMaio can do that. He has to survive the primary, mend fences, drive the issues his way and finally get out the vote. Maybe a little fear of the consequences of losing might help. It has helped the other guys.

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