2 Calif. Democrats Deadlocked in Bid to Unseat GOP Incumbent

June 6, 2018

By Christian Smith

Democrats are in a holding pattern, waiting to see who will take on California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in one of the key districts their party needs to flip in November to retake control of the House of Representatives.

Initially, California Democrats wanted to box Rohrabacher out of the race by stacking the ballot with two of their own candidates, but they were unable to game California's "jungle primary" system, said Jon Miller, the White House correspondent for CRTV.

"We know that the Democrats, they sunk millions of dollars into the 48th District," Miller told Cheddar. "They wanted to load the ballot with two Democrats, but we know that they're not going to be able to do that because Dana Rohrabacher is a confirmed winner there."

In California, the top two vote getters, regardless of party affiliation, get spots on the November ballot.

Rohrabacher, a 30-year incumbent, received more than 30 percent of the vote Tuesday, and will face either the businessman Harley Rouda, or the biomedical researcher Hans Kierstead. Those two Democrats were separated by fewer than 100 votes as of the New York Times' last count.

Democrats are hoping to pick up seven Republican-held districts in California that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. California's 39th and 49th districts are at the top of the target list; two longtime Republican representatives are retiring.

Congressman Ed Royce announced in January that he would vacate his seat in the 39th district after 26 years in office, drawing 17 candidates from both major parties into the race. (Two of them bowed out before Tuesday's vote.) The Republican former assemblywoman Young Kim and a Democratic philanthropist, Gil Cisneros, appear to be the winners of the primary.

In California's 49th district, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa is stepping down from the seat he has held for 16 years. Republican State Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey has guaranteed herself a spot in the November midterms. And 29-year-old Sara Jacobs, the granddaughter of the billionaire co-founder of Qualcomm, Irwin Jacobs, is waiting to hear if she or the lawyer Mike Levin, another Democrat, will earn the right to run for Issa's seat. Levin led Jacobs by more than a thousand votes as of Wednesday afternoon.

Results won't be official for a few weeks as the state still has to count the larger-than-expected number of provisional ballots.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder said in a statement that the names of 118,522 voters were omitted from poll workers' rosters of registered voters at almost a third of L.A.'s voting locations. Voters left off of the roster were given provisional ballots.

For the full interview, click here.