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Big Shock In A Red California Congressional District Where A Democrat Came In First

California's new 3rd district isn't really analogous to any of the old California districts. It sprawls over parts of Doug LaMalfa's deep red CA-01, a bit of John Garamendi's blue-leaning CA-03, into Tom McClintock's safely red CA-04 and down into Jay Obernolte's red CA-08. Most of teh district was represented by McClintock, who chose to migrate to CA-05, a much redder district (R+17) instead. The new concoction is a Republican-leaning (R+8) district that includes the Placer County suburbs northwest of Sacramento and goes almost as far as the Oregon border in the north and along the Nevada border almost as far south as the L.A. metro. It includes some of the least populated, most rural stretches of the state. There are 10 counties and parts of counties in the district. This list includes all 10 in order of how many votes were cast in the congressional primary:

  • Placer- 39,986

  • Nevada- 19,683

  • Sacramento- 18,911

  • El Dorado- 16,677

  • Plumas- 4,916

  • Inyo- 3,941

  • Mono- 3,053

  • Yuba- 1,548

  • Sierra- 1,158

  • Alpine- 484

There were 4 candidates who decided to run for the open seat, two Democrats and two Republicans. There had been wide speculation that the two far right Republicans, blow-dried Assemblyman Kevin Kiley and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, would make it to the general election and leave the two little-known Democrats, moderate Kermit Jones and progressive David Peterson, in the dust. Instead, this happened:

Don't get too excited about a Democrat winning in this red-leaning district, especially in a red wave-cycle. There were about 51,000 votes cast for the 2 Democrats and 58,000 for the 2 Republicans. Still, that Kermit Jones came in significantly first was one of the big surprises in the state's primaries last week.

Neither Sheriff Scott Jones nor David Peterson raised enough money to file an FEC report. Kiley raised $1,442,812, spent $1,163,098 and has $279,715 left in his account. Kermit Jones raised $1,283,630, spent just $566,612 and has $717,018 left in his account. The only outside money spent in the primary was by two small right-wing SuperPACs which, combined, used $109,500 on behalf of Sheriff Jones.

Kiley is widely considered one of the furthest right members of the state legislature and has Trump's endorsement. He was one of the organizers of the failed Gavin Newsom recall and ran for governor himself, coming in a distant 6th with just 3.5% of the vote.

If anything, Sheriff Jones is to the right of Kiley. Just before coming down with COVID, he announced that he refused to enforce county and state COVID regulations. California is 73% fully vaccinated. All ten counties that make up CA-03 fall below that.

Jones is not on the DCCC's Red to Blue list and hasn't been endorsed by the New Dems, Blue Dogs or Progressive Caucus, although he was endorsed by the California Democratic Party, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, VoteVets and the Congressional Black Caucus. This was his launch video:

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