California is one of the few high-profile large electoral vote states in our core list. Any victories we enjoy here will probably consist primarily either of high-credibility celebrity ARP candidates or ARP-sympathetic Republicrats. Primarily I believe we need to concentrate on credible minority showings that demonstrate the ability to swing elections one way or the other.
Senator Dianne Feinstein has much negative baggage from the ARP point of view. She is a staunch supporter of MFN for China and her husband was until recently heavily invested in China-related business. In terms of a potential ARP endorsement, all of the preceding is a deal-breaker. We recommend that ARP choose not to endorse Feinstein, for Chinese or other reasons; we have other recourses.
There are four options which ARP could pursue, in our judgement. Our first choice is a moderate Congressman, Tom Campbell (R), who has been very sympathetic to our core issues of fiscal and political reform (though he is a free trader) and is rumored also to be thinking seriously of running either for Governor or for Senate. We could definitely do worse than support his aspirations. Should he prove reluctant to go for the Senate job, it would be helpful, we believe, if we could persuade some credible independent or quasi-independent figures around the nation, such as the Gang of Eight to pledge him their support should he go for the Senate seat.
Our next choice is former Representative Ed Zschau, who ran a very impressive Senate campaign against the late Alan Cranston, coming within less than a percentage of beating that very senior health nut. In addition, Zschau accepted the vice-presidential slot on Richard Lamm's White House ticket and is less than enamored of the Republicrats these days; therefore he could very well be amenable to trying for the upper house again. In addition, he has broken with his erstwhile Republican allies and endorsed Bill Bradley for President. He seems more than ever prepared to pursue an independent course in politics. A moderate Republican, San Diego Mayor Susan Golding, has also toyed with Senatorial aspirations and might be an option for ARP.
One important caveat to keep in mind here: Feinstein may be picked by Al Gore as his Veep should he win the '00 Democratic Presidential nomination, which means this Senate seat might be up for grabs. In such an open seat situation, the influence and political adroitness of the reform movement, which gave 21% of this state's vote to Perot in 92 and 11% of California's vote to third-party/independent presidential candidacies in 98, dictates clearly that this is a Senate seat we should contest. It will no doubt be the biggest challenge facing us in the 2000 election.
Barbara Boxer is an absolutely standard liberal
Democrat. In no way could she be considered a potential ARP sympathizer,
despite her one notable peculiarity of having voted for the Chafee-Breaux
balanced budget plan. Her seat is up in '04. However, in our
judgement, it would be premature to strategize for this race at this time.
Currently, a freshman Democrat named Mike Thompson is serving as the Representative for this District. I have been unable to get a clear picture yet of his political persona. However, this district is ripe for a reform-type challenge. It gave 24% of its vote to Perot in 92 and a whopping 17% of its vote to Perot and other third-party/independent presidential candidates in 96. At the very least we should shoot for a minimum of a 12% showing here, sufficient to rob the 62% Thompson from a majority vote in 2000. No ARP victory here, but let's go for an intellectually credible candidate who will not embarass us. No help in those third-party/independent candidates who have run in recent years; none of them have come close to 12%, despite this district's strong third-party/independent presidential showings.
As in the first, so in the second. Wally Herger (R) is the incumbent. He is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, not a probable ARP ally. But again as in the first district, this is a place where third-party/independent sentiment runs strong. Perot got a 25% showing in 92 and Perot/third-party/independent votes garnered a combined 13% showing in 96. Our goal should therefore be to hold the 62% Herger below 50% in his next time at bat, meaning, as with Thompson, we must steal 12% of his support. Unfortunately, there is again no credible candidate on the horizon here; we must find one on our own.
This district is represented by Lynn Woolsey, one of the most liberal Democrats in the House. Moreover, it has not given impressive percentages to third-party/independent presidential candidates. At first blush this district would appear to be one to which ARP should pay scant attention EXCEPT --
in '98 a Natural Law Party opponent of Woolsey's,
Alan Barreca, got a whopping 16% of the vote. This is a far cry from
the norm where the House competition has been concerned in this district
where a showing of 3% or 4% has been the average for third-party/independent
candidates. What's happening here? Is this district becoming
disillusioned with Republicanism? Was there some celebrity status
enjoyed by Barreca? All of this would seem worth looking into.
At the very least it would seem possible that a credible third-party/independent
candidate has the potential to pick up another 8 percentage points which,
if accumulated at Woolsey's expense, would be enough to hold her to the
desired 50%. Definitely worth looking into.
This district also would not appear at first glance
to be one congenial to our positions. However its Representative,
Ellen Tauscher, is a moderate Democrat and, more importantly, a member
of the Blue Dogs, a collection of fiscally reponsible moderate to conservative
Democrats who also boast an impeccable record on political reform.
It was Scotty Baesler, one of Blue Dog's leaders, who was a driving force
behind the discharge petition that finally forced the House to vote through
the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill. Perhaps even more
importantly, Tauscher consistently has won by narrow margins, in 96 with
49% and in 98 by 53%. The latter weak showing is particularly noteworthy
considering that 98 was a good year for Democratic incumbents. The
reason would appear to be the strong presence of labor and liberals in
her district. What better position for ARP to be in than for an incumbent
Tauscher to feel grateful to ARP for their efforts, -- efforts which may
very well make the difference in coming elections?
This district is one to which we should give the
highest priority. Not only is it a district which gave percentages
higher than the national average to third-party/independent presidential
candidates in both 92 and 96, but it is also represented by someone who
has not hesitated to declare his sympathy with ARP's stated goals, Republican
Representative Tom Campbell. He was an important lieutenant in the
successful Shays-Meehan battle in the House in '98, he has consistently
opposed both across-the-board tax cuts and pork barrel spending, and he
enjoys a whopping 74% rating from the Taxpayers for Common Sense, way above
the House Republican average of 31%. He enjoys a good relationship
with both Nancy Couperus and yours truly and would, I am sure, be happy
to receive ARP's endorsement. More relevantly, he is in BIG trouble
in this pro-Clinton district, due to his vote for Clinton's impeachment,
and clearly needs and would be grateful for allies. I believe this
would be a match made in political heaven. In a squeaker election,
such as that which Campbell almost certainly faces, the importance of an
organization like ARP to make the difference cannot be overemphasized.
One caveat: Campbell may choose not to contest this seat again.
He might choose to run for Senate in 2000 instead, in which capacity we
might also see fit to endorse him.
This district's votes for President are not particularly noteworthy in terms of support for third-party/independent candidates. And the current incumbent, Bill Thomas, has enjoyed win percentages in the sixties and seventies for years. Thomas' entitlement reform record is not bad, but the other areas of his legislative and voting record are standard right-wing Republican.
The Democratic party appears to be in big trouble in this district and did not even field a candidate in 98. However this district is of interest to ARP, in the opinion of the CSSC because guess who came in second here last year? THE REFORM PARTY CANDIDATE, JOHN EVANS! Is there perhaps a budding Reform Party happening in this district, being born out of the ashes of the carriers of the donkey?
The CSSC asked around to see what the story was here. Who was John Evans? Was he a card-carrying Perotbot or Fulani-ite? If not, and the Reform Party is indeed doing well in this district, is it ripe for alliance with ARP? We looked for answers to all these questions. Finally, Jeff Grage became a contact/witness for our committee and reported his impressions of Evans. The following is a representative quote:
"In my opinion, he is a good man. The majority of his planks are very close to ARP. Near the end [of the campaign] he became more independent [of the Reform Party]. He ran his campaign almost by himself."
So, as we look at a district where the groundwork
appears to have been laid for a viable reformist third party (assuming
it is not controlled by Perot and/or Fulani), it is obvious that we cannot
ignore territory where promising inroads already appear to have been made.
The CSSC recommends that we contact, endorse and support John Evans.
This is another district friendly to non-Republicrat presidential candidates. The incumbent, conservative Elton Gallegly, is not in general congenial to ARP positions. For one thing, he is a confirmed supply-sider and consistently supports tax cuts of any size or scope. One peculiarity; he supported Shays-Meehan. I feel his overall record, however, is just too right-wing for ARP. There is no viable ARP-type candidate that I have seen mentioned in this district, however. So I suggest that we look for a plausible intelligent knowledgeable activist who will not embarass us and who will go for the less-than-50% strategy. In Gallegly's case, this means we should shoot for an 11% percent showing, assuming Gallegly starts '00 with the same 60% he enjoyed in '98. At this time, the Reform Party has a candidate here: the name is Cary Savitch. It might behove us to check him out.
This district was an absolutely classic swing district. The victor in the 94 and 96 elections won by less than 50% and this district also gave support to third-party/independent presidential candidates higher than the national average, 22% in 92, 11% in 96. Brad Sherman, the Democratic incumbent, is a good fit for this centrist district, with support for the death penalty, opposition to racial quotas and preferences, and in favor of tough measures on illegal immigration. Both in 94 and 96 the squeaker loser on the Republican side, Rich Sybert, had similar positions, demonstrating independence from GOP orthodoxy with support of abortion rights and environmental protections. He also made tort reform a major part of his platform and received financial support for his campaign from no less a person than Colin Powell. At this time, the ARP Congressional Strategy Special Committee feels both Sherman and Sybert are potential ARP allies and leaves the question of an endorsement up to the ARP and its leadership.
This district also has given larger-than-average percentages to third-party/independent presidential candidates. Moreover in the last election Democrats didn't even bother to field a candidate here, indicating that there is a vaccum ready to be filled in this district. The incumbent, Republican Howard "Buck" McKeon, is a pork king and a fiscal profligate, notable among other things for his fight to authorize the production of more B2s than were currently in the pipeline. We should definitely challenge here. Our goal should NOT be to win here (McKeon usually wins in the 60s and 70s) but to make a strong showing. 25% would be enough to hold him at 50%, assuming his 98 Libertarian opponent runs again and as well as he did in 98.
This district is another classic swing district
of the sort that the ARP should make its bread and butter. It gave
23% of its vote to Perot in 92 and a combined total of 12% to all third-party/independent
presidential candidates (Perot, Nader, etc.) in 96. In addition,
no incumbent has received more than 52% of the vote in the last 3 election
cycles. The current incumbent, freshman Republican Steven Kuykendall,
is no exception: he received only 49% in 98, less than four thousand
votes more than his opponent. He is a moderate Republican, pro-choice
and pro-assault weapons ban. I believe he will be in considerable
trouble in '00 from an anti-GOP impeachment backlash particularly because
of his freshman status, as will 15th Congressional District incumbent Tom
Campbell. And, as with Campbell, the centrist ARP should make Kuykendall's
cause their cause. If he should win by a squeaker as a result of
our support we could legitimately claim a victory for ARP influence.
Such an effort would definitely be worth it, in my opinion.
This district has it all, -- above-average showings
for third-party/independent presidential candidates, a centrist philosophical
outlook, a history of close victories for incumbents, and an absolutely
typical swing electorate. The current incumbent, Steve Horn, is excellent
on all ARP issues, -- a campaign finance reform expert (he's actually written
academically on the subject) and Shays/Meehan supporter, accepts no PAC
money, moderate to conservative on immigration and opposes non-emergency
health care for illegal aliens while a fighter for more Border Control
guards. He was one of only 26 Republican Representatives who voted
for this year's budget offering from the Blue Dog Democrats. In addition,
he has a reputation for forming bipartisan coalitions and is known for
frequently persuading New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney to cosponsor his
initiatives. He also supported curbs in the rate of growth of Medicare
and was one of the few Repblicans who was able to blunt his Democratic
opponent's Mediscare demagogery, probably due to his credibility as a moderate
and an aide to the late Senator Kuchel, one of Medicare's original architects.
He only won by 53% in 98, will probably be in trouble in '00 because of
an impeachment backlash and could use and be grateful for all the help
he can get. So let's make him grateful and give him that help.
This district has been sympathetic to third-party/independent presidential candidates. As I see it, we don't have a choice. We must plant our flag in this district. But it will be tough going. The incumbent, Republican Jerry Lewis, while opposed to term limits and campaign finance reform, nevertheless enjoys the reputation of a moderate and distinctions between him and ARP may be tough to draw. Nevertheless, he is enough of an insider establishmentarian that his profile would be a tough fit for ARP. He wins by large margins however. All of which means that our goal should only be to run respectably here. If we get 15% and hold Lewis to 50% I'll be happy. There are no distinguished figures in this district, Republicrat or otherwise, who fit the ARP profile. We will have to run our own candidate.
This is another district which has supported third-party/independent presidential candidates at higher levels than the national average. Its incumbent, GOPer Ken Calvert, is a standard knee-jerk pro-tax cuts conservative Republican. Moreover he has an INCREDIBLY spotty personal history. He was stopped in his car by police in 93 in the company of a prostitute, he was caught owing $16000 dollars in back taxes, and he was sued for nonpayment of alimony. Despite all of this baggage he has continued to be returned to office, probably because of the suicidally left-wing nominees the Dems have picked to run against him. Under the circumstances, while victory is probably not in the picture, it should nevertheless be doable to run an ARP candidate of our own against him and receive at least the 5 or 6 % percent needed to deprive him of his erstwhile 55% majority support here.
This was the late Sonny Bono's district and, after his untimely death, his wife took over the seat. She has carved out no special identity for herself yet other than having failed on one of ARP's key issues, campaign finance reform (she voted against Shays-Meehan). At this time, there is nothing to indicate she will not wind up, or in fact may not already be, your standard Republican hack. In any event, this district has shown more than the usual sympathy for third-party/independent presidential candidates. However there is no public figure who is clearly identifiable here with ARP's issues so we will have to run one of our own. The goal should not be a victory; rather we should shoot for a 10% showing, the amount needed to take Ms. Bono down to 50% from her 98 showing of 60%.
This is another district with sympathies greater than the national average for third-party/independent presidential candidates and therefore ARP should at least plant a flag here. Despite its support for such presidential candidacies, this district is more conservative than the average such district, sending a conservative Republican, Dana Rohrabacher, to Congress consistently for some years. By the way, while Rohrabacher has no record that I can see on fiscal responsibility or political reform, he has shown an intermittent streak of independence from the Republican establishment. He opposes MFN for China and fought the bill which would have weakened patent protections, an item over which the Perot Reform Party got very exercised. However, with potential support and sympathy for our positions present in at least a substantial minority of voters here, I feel we should at least run a candidate in this district. There is no obvious publicly visible figure here who shares our issues so we will have to run with a view only toward a respectable showing, not a victory. We need an 8% showing to take Rohrabacher down to a 50% showing, assuming he still enjoys in '00 the 58% support he demonstrated in '98.
In this district, the Democratic Party didn't even bother to field a candidate against the traditional conservative Republican incumbent, Ron Packard. There is obviously a vacuum here which ARP might be able to fill as easily as anyone, since there has been demonstrated here in the past above-average support for third-party/independent presidential candidates. Earlier this year, there were rumors that Packard would be resigning. On the afternoon of April 21, 1999, however, the House Race Hotline reported those rumors were incorrect; Packard still intends to run for re-election in 2000. So this contest will still be tough for ARP; most likely we will need a showing in the upper twenties to keep the Republicrat victor at or below 50% in '00.
This district gave above-average support for third-party/independent
presidential candidates in both 92 and 96. It is also one of the
tightest swing districts in the nation. Rarely does the victor in
a House race accrue more than percentages in the upper forties to low fifties.
The current incumbent, Republican Brian Bilbray, is no exception.
He received a razor-close 49% victory in '98, and is rumored to be under
more than usual pressure now as a result of his vote for impeachment.
Where should ARP be on this race? Foursquare behind Bilbray.
He is a staunch Republican moderate, enjoys a 53% TCS rating, well above
the House GOP's 31% average, and was a strong supporter of the Shays-Meehan
campaign finance reform bill as well as one of only 26 Republican Representatives
who voted for this year's Blue Dog budget. ARP's support could well
make the difference for him in '00 and we should support him without hesitation.
This district's Democratic party is very weak. In fact in the 98 election it did not even bother to field a candidate. This is because the Republican party is very strong here. The incumbent, GOPer Duncan Hunter, is a typical party conservative. In general he is not sympathetic to ARP issues: he opposed the campaign finance reform bill, he has an abysmal 24% TCS rating, and has consistently voted for such boondoggles as the Defense Department's B2. There is only one issue where he lines up firmly with the majority of this nation's centrist reformers, and that is his fierce opposition to most of today's trade agreements, like NAFTA and GATT. There is no one of any stature in this district who is right on most ARP issues. However, because this district has supported third-party/independent presidential candidates at percentage levels above the national average, and because there is a vacuum being left here by the Viagra-less Democratic party, I feel it is incumbent for the ARP to plant the flag here. Once again, however, the bar is high; we need to make 26% in order to hold Hunter down to 50%, assuming that he goes into 2000 with his '98 support of 76% intact.
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