If I Lived in CA-45, CA-48, or CA-49, I’d Vote to Endorse …




As you can tell, my main focus in pre-endorsement meetings has been CA-39.  But I have been paying attention to the other races too, although my views on them are more fluid.  Here is how I think I’d vote to endorse in the other Congressional races:

CA-45: CHOICES (based on CDP listings): 

Brian Forde
Dave Min
Katie Porter
Kia Hamadanchy

I’d go with Kia Hamadanchy.  This is a race where I think that it’s more likely than not, at this point, that the people in the runoff will be Republicans Mimi Walters and Greg RathsI find the very personal-seeming pissing match between the dueling UCI professors Min and Porter to be extremely distasteful; one effect of it is that I think that it one of them is the leader the other one will stay in the race out of spite.  That works against the process of necessary winnowing to prefer that R-on-R runoff (even though I think that Raths is a nice and decent guy, so if it happens at least there would be someone to root for.)  A “No Endorsement” vote also works against the purpose of winnowing.  So the question is which of the other two should get support.  Kia has been working in this district for years, seems very bright, decent, and well-qualified.  He’d have my vote.  Min and Porter, please settle your differences before 2020.

CA-48: CHOICES (based on CDP listings): 

Michael Kotick
Hans Keirstead
Laura Oatman
Rachel Payne
Boyd Roberts
Harley Rouda
Omar Siddiqui
Tony Zardakes

I’d go with Laura Oatman.  (But I could move to Rachel Payne.)

This well-educated “coastal elite” district race is one where I think that the “Year of the Woman” approach really ought to apply — especially against a piggish boor like Dana Rohrabacher.  Based on my personal observations of them, Kotick, Roberts, and Zardakes are out.  Not to slam them, but they’d have no chance against Dana.  Any of the other five would.

Unfortunately, this also currently has the makings of an R-on-R runoff, given the presence of Republican Stelian Onofrei in the race, so choosing No Endorsement is not an option.  (We’ll see if the other Republicans making noise about running do so.  I’m skeptical.)

Keirstead and Rouda seem to be locked in a “Min & Porter”-style death match that has served neither of them well.   Their race seems also to have become a proxy war between the National/California Nurses Association and the National Union of Health Workers.  Support for these two seems to come mostly from party centrists (Frank Barbaro, Bill Lockyer, Sukhee Kang for Rouda; Florice Hoffman, Melissa Fox, Wylie Aiken for Keirstead.  Slight advantage for Hans, but not much.)  That’s not necessarily damning, but it will likely end up uninspiring — even to the Indivisible crew.  To have any chance of weeding them out and freeing up those nurses organizations’ money to go where it can be put to better use, both Hans and Harley need to be repudiated tomorrow.  That’s not how I’d bet — but that’s why I’d take the long odds on goofy Stelian making the runoff against Dana.

But repudiate the H-Boys in favor of whom?  I hear good things about Siddiqui (although his self-description as “CIA Partner & FBI Advisor” is not among them) and believe his explanation that the “Reagan was a great President” flap was not an endorsement of Reagan’s policies but a recognition of his prowess and significance.   And he has the most money of the remaining trio.  But I believe that the money will come to any Democrat in the runoff — if any survive — and I just don’t see Siddiqi electrifying the electorate the way one of the female candidates would this year.

I’ve liked Oatman from the beginning, but I question whether she’d have the resources to compete.  As of Sept. 30, she had already raised about eight times as much as 2016’s sacrificial lamb Suzanne Savary did, so there seems to be reason for optimism.  (That’s less than the H-Boys, but she also doesn’t have the dagger of a bitter nurses campaign aimed at her throat.  I doubt that they’ll go after her.)   If Oatman emerges as the main third option — even the fourth if Siddiqi makes the cut — I think that she starts attracting a lot of money to take on the H-Boys (and the O-Guy.)

Payne got into the race late — I hope not as part of someone’s plan to split the women’s vote — and has not yet filed a report (fourth-quarter reports are due next Wednesday.)  I think that not having her finances be clear before these caucuses was a tactical error on her part.  She promotes herself as a “technology executive” — which could be anything from significant to meaningless in terms of her ability to raise funds.  She also really needs to change the splash photo on her website, to which I shall not link in order to protect the innocent.  (Seriously?  Who greenlighted that?)

This is a situation where I would listen to (the mostly women of) Indivisible along the coast about what candidate they prefer.  Lacking that information, or endorsement information from either candidate, I’d right now be leaning towards Oatman.  Look, we can safely afford three Democrats in the race, and if the endorsement-rich H-boys can’t be stopped then we’re really choosing which third candidate will have the momentum to stay with them while they batter out each other’s brains until June.  I hope that that’s a woman, and I hope that that woman beats them both.

CA-49: CHOICES (based on CDP listings): 

Doug Applegate
Sara Jacobs
Mike Levin
Paul Kerr
Christina Prejean

Gee, what to do here?

I’d definitely vote for Doug Applegate

Oh yeah — Doug Applegate had to courage to take on a race that nobody thought could be won — and he came within a short putt of winning it.  Those other people — I’m looking at you, Mike Levin! — didn’t help, I suspect because once Applegate showed the the seat was winnable they or their handlers decided that they wanted it for themselves.

My friends across the country know Applegate’s name and are absolutely thunderstruck that he doesn’t have unified party support for a rematch.  If I didn’t live in Orange County, I probably would be too.  Here’s the deal: if we don’t pick Applegate, we very likely lose, because there’s a good chance that the moderate and honest Rocky Chavez — that’s Marine Colonel Rocky Chavez! — will be the Republican nominee.  Putting Mike Levin or Paul Kerr or the relatively late-arriving women up against Rocky in this Camp Pendleton-centric district would be asking for a disaster.  Of the group, only Applegate can take him on and win.  And if Chavez wins, we probably don’t get another chance to win this seat for the next couple of decades.  Don’t be stupid — vote for our courageous colonel to carry our flag.

UPDATE – The Slander against the Colonel,

originated by Issa but amplified by Doug’s Dem opponents

With the California Democratic Party Pre-Endorsement conferences coming up this weekend, I feel that it is important to share my personal story within the context of the race to #FlipThe49th ………..even though it's hard. And it hurts. And I have a cold.

Posted by Margot Tenenbaum on Thursday, January 25, 2018


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)