OJB’s 2018 Primary Picks, Pt 4: Congress & Ballot Measures…

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Picture of Douglas Applegate, the CA-49 progressive choice, by Joe Dusel Photography, copyright 2015, used with permission.



In most of these races, the California Democratic Party has already picked, so I can’t do much more than grumble.  While you should have your ballots in hand today, YOU SHOULD NOT BE VOTING YET because you should want to wait for at least one more big poll to come in to help you decide about the Governor’s race and probably U.S. Senate as well.  You can wait to vote until this weekend.  But if you’re an Eager Balloter, we’ll give you the rundown here — with the understanding that some of them may change.


CDP has endorsed in the ballot measures, saying yes on all of 68-72 except for 70., which stays my hand to some degree.  Based on what research I’ve done and subject to revision: I DEFINITELY AGREE that you should vote yes on Josh Newman’s Prop 68 lockbox — and however you are voting on the recall, you should too and on Prop 72 (not penalizing homeowners with higher property taxes if they install rain capture systems), although I am concerned about such systems providing haven for mosquitos and don’t know how they’ve solved it.  I think that I agree on Prop 69, but I’ll listen to Zenger’s view on this, so that’s only leaning yes for now.  I’m leaning against Prop 70 because Republicans have been so irresponsible on global warming that I don’t want them to have a veto on it (which in any event just gives disproportionate power to conservative Democrats and maybe moderate Republicans to demand goodies in exchange for their votes.  Prop 71 looks reasonable for the most part, but I have some questions about whether it allows time for mischief during that five-day waiting period, as well as making the occasionally appropriate retroactive legislation impossible, so I have no recommendation for now.  (That will likely either change or be elaborated upon.)

  • Prop 69: Leaning Yes
  • Prop 70: Leaning No
  • Prop 71: No Recommendation Yet
  • Prop 72: YES!



(If anyone but Irvine has ballot measures coming up, let us know!)


CDP has endorsed in all Congressional races except CA-39 and CA-49, which is good for me because those are the ones I want to talk about most.  I’ll hit the highlights there today and expand on them later this week, so if you’re in those districts don’t vote yet unless you have to!  (Although if you’re in CA-49, vote for Doug Applegate, of course.  All you’ll get by waiting for me are better reasons!  If you’re in CA-39 — well, sorry, but that one will take work.)

CDP’s recommendation in CA-38 for Linda Sanchez is the right choice, as is the recommendation for Al Lowenthal in CA-47.  They’re both shoo-ins for re-election, but you should vote for them anyway to give them extra swagger against their colleagues.  (Sanchez’s opponent is Robert Downing; the CA-47 opponents are John Briscoe and David Clifford; you’re on your own there, Republicans!  I don’t know if there are LA County-based opponents for either, and frankly it doesn’t matter.)

CDP endorses Lou Correa in CA-46, while I have no endorsement — not because I want to put effort into seeing Correa lose (he’s inevitable too, barring any secret scandals, of which I know none) but because I would probably want to figure out who should be with him in the runoff.  (The party says that I can’t do that either, so great is their fear of independent voices.)  So your choices are Republican Russell Rene Lambert and NPPs Will Johnson and Ed Rushman.  If they have ballot statements, you can read them yourself and discuss then in comments.

That leaves districts 39, 45, 48, and 49.  Let’s start at the end and work backwards:


For those leaning Democratic, CA-49 is easy: if you respect Doug Applegate for his opening the door on what was thought to be an unwinnable race, and don’t mind that he’s a smart reformer who isn’t afraid to use his own judgment, he gets your vote and you’ll be lucky to have him.  If not, you can vote for Sara Jacobs, Mike Levin, or Paul Kerr, none of whom should be running, but of whom I guess Jacobs has the most compelling storyline.  (Levin is probably better than Kerr.)  DO NOT vote Green or Peace and Freedom in this race; Applegate needs your vote and you can support the “further left” elsewhere on your ballot, where it won’t matter.

For Republicans, you have some terrible choices, among whom one, OC’s Diane Harkey, is clearly the worst.  I don’t mean that in a “hey, if you disagree with me politically you may want to support her” way; I mean “dishonest and self-serving and probably ought to be in jail given her and her husband’s swindling investors” way.  The other leaders in the district are Rocky Chavez and Kristin Gaspar; the former is a moderate and a Marine Colonel (like Applegate); the latter is a San Diego supervisor with a blonde “made for Fox News” appearance.  Other Republicans on the ballot are Joshua Schoonover, Mike Schmitt, Bryan Maryott, David Medway, and Craig Nordal.  Running for office is hard work and it would be a shame if these people didn’t get some votes too, you know?  (Why yes, that is a jedi mind trick!  Still true, though.)  You also have a Libertarian, Joshua Hancock, who might do well here as a protest vote.

Oddly: there’s only one NPP, Robert Pendleton, who will still not get many votes.


Dana Rohrabacher’s district is a total mess for Democrats, and is likely to lead to a Dana Rohrabacher vs. Scott Baugh all-Republican runoff.  (And if Baugh wins, his tenure in Congress will likely be long.)  Again, only one NPP, Kevin Kensinger, so there’s no easy out for the party-averse.

Rohrabacher is presumably almost a lock to make the runoff, as the incumbent, due to voters not following the drama nearly as close as the rest of us.  To make this happen, Baugh will have to avoid votes being peeled off by Paul Martin, Stelian Onufrei, John Gabbard, Shastina Sandman, and Libertarian Brandon Reiser — the latter of whom I’d consider to be a dark horse in this field, as being the sole Libertarian in a libertarian district might actually beat being one of six Republicans — and that’s just beyond my ability to handicap.  In a normal field, this might kill Baugh’s chances, but this is not a normal field.

Democrats have an interesting situation in that the CDP chose to endorse Hans Keirstead after a controversial local vote, while all local members of Congress and at least a couple of candidates who have dropped out of the race have instead endorsed Harley Rouda.  Let’s see if we can sort this out:

Other Democrats on the ballot who haven’t dropped out include the well-qualified Omar Siddiqi (who has the OC Young Democrats “we’re not afraid of supporting a Muslim in the coastal district when he’s clearly the best candidate” endorsement), the perplexing Deanie Schaarsmith, and the (I’m told) infuriating Tony Zarkades.  Of these, Siddiqi is the only one who might really take a bunch of votes — and in this field, with this much disaffection, I can’t entirely rule him out.

Democrats who have dropped out, but remain on the ballot, include Laura Oatman, Rachel Payne, and Michael Kotick,   Oatman and one other threw their support to Rouda.  Each of the three will probably get more votes than Deanie and Tony Z — but not more than Omar.

One interesting this to watch in this race will be what DPOC and CDP will do in a race where both the Congressional delegate and the Young Democrats have gone against their endorsed candidate.  Will anyone be admonished or kicked out of the party?  My guess is that if anyone will be, it will be some Berniecrat, and everyone else will enjoy their unequal treatment under the law.

GREG’S Choice: As I lack the protection of being a Young Democrat, I make NO RECOMMENDATION.


This race looks superficially like CA-48 — tremendous intraparty enmity on the Democratic side — but with one big difference: there’s no Scott Baugh in the race to become the second Republican in the primary.  All there is besides incumbent Mimi Walters and the four Democrats is NPP John Graham — and if Republicans somehow got him into the runoff every Democrat would vote for him out of spite.  So the cries to support the endorsed candidate here have nothing to do with the prospect of getting shut out of the primary and everything to do with enforcing party discipline for its own sake.

The CDP endorsed candidate is alleged Blue Dog Dave Min — I’m not clear at this point of whether he rejects or accepts the label — whom I’m currently “suing” in the party’s internal court because CDP Chair Eric Bauman refused my call for a “division of the house” (which would have been followed by a roll-call vote in each of the party’s 20-odd districts ) after Min and his people were allegedly harassing, blocking, and even assaulting people they thought were trying to get the signatures needed to overturn his endorsements.  (SOOOOO, so much about that to come!)  His nemesis is fellow UCI Law professor Katie Porter, who is a former assistant to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.  She apparently was extremely nasty about the local endorsement vote, which was hinky at best, but we’ll let others who were there tell that story in comments.  The other two candidates are Kia Hamadanchy, whose sister reports having been assaulted by Min and his minions, and Brian Forde, whose wife reports having received the same sort of treatment during signature collection (as did at least one other non-candidate.)

(Note: one would think that the DPOC and CDP would care about such matters.  One would apparently be wrong about that: although they may care about discussing them publicly.  I will probably be attacked for noting this incongruity — attacked by some of the very same people who have celebrated the #MeToo campaign bringing down Democrats like former Sen. Al Franken for a hell of a lot less than violent actions.  I am not allowed to report on the reaction to anything that I may or may not have said to the local party about that.)

The OC Young Democrats rejected both of the professorts and endorsed Brian Forde.  They, once again, can get away with that — I, as a Berniecrat, cannot safely follow the lead of our wise non-elders.  So I’m calling on Kia, whom I like, to suspend his campaign and am issuing a No Endorsement in this race.


Alas, I don’t have time to continue this morning, so all I’ll say is that if you must vote today just pick your multi-millionaire.  I’ll have more on that, as well as the state legislative races, tonight.  Here’s the summary on Congress:

  • CA-38LINDA!
  • CA-46 — NO ENDORSEMENT (but not a slap at Lou)
  • CA-49DOUG APPLEGATE, with much more analysis of this race to come!



About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)