Both Political Parties Face Uncertain Outcome In 49th Congressional Primary
With nine candidates now running to replace Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, the challenge for both parties will be to make sure at least one of their candidates is among the top two vote-getters in the June primary.
Before Issa decided to drop out of the race, four Democratic challengers were running against one Republican incumbent, so Issa was virtually certain to be one of the top two vote-getters in June. The top two candidates will face off in November.
Political Science Professor Carl Luna of Mesa College said now that five Republicans have jumped into the race, the Republican Party has the same problem as the Democrats: how to avoid splitting the vote.
“The best hope for the Republicans would be to narrow the field down to two by June, but with more people jumping in — like Kristin Gaspar — it doesn’t look like anybody’s looking to jump out of that boat yet,” Luna said. “With five Republicans and four Democrats, you could end up with two Democrats, two Republicans, or one of each: it’s really a lot of chaos in that race.”
The 49th district runs from Dana Point in Orange County to UCSD and La Jolla in San Diego. Not only are there party loyalties to consider, there are County loyalties: the Republican and Democratic parties of San Diego County would like to see a San Diego candidate hold the seat, while the more conservative Orange County voters hope one of their own wins.
Political parties could decide before the primary whether to endorse a single candidate, but that requires a two-thirds vote, and with so many candidates to consider, it could prove difficult.
Protesters carry on
The demonstrations outside Issa’s office in Vista continue every Tuesday morning, in spite of his withdrawal from the race. Leaders said they want him to know they are still watching what he does in the remaining year of his term. This week there were a handful of people on the Republican side of the street and well over 100 on the Democratic side. The focus was the Republican Tax Reform, with T-shirts that read “Not One Penny in Tax Cuts for the Rich.”
The Flip the 49th campaign has added a new venue to their rallies. They now also protest outside Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter's office in Fallbrook. If Hunter is disqualified as a result of a federal investigation into misuse of campaign funds, there is speculation that Issa could run for his seat in the 50th district.
Candidates for the 49th Congressional District :
The four Democratic candidates running for the 49th Congressional seat are:
Former Marine Col. Doug Applegate of Vista, who nearly defeated Issa in 2016.
Mike Levin, an Orange County environmental attorney and the top Democratic candidate fundraiser.
Paul Kerr, a businessman from a working-class family who now lives in Rancho Santa Fe.
Sara Jacobs of Encinitas, a former State Department employee and head of a nonprofit to benefit education in Africa.
The five Republican candidates running for the 49th Congressional seat so far are the following:
76th Assemblyman Rocky Chavez of Oceanside.
San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar of Encintas.
Board of Equalization Chair Diane Harkey of Dana Point.
San Juan Capistrano city councilman Brian Maryott.
North County patent lawyer Joshua Schoonover.