Every time he’s run, conservative Republican Mike Garcia was given a nice present by the DCCC— the same unelectable GOP-lite opponent, Christy Smith. (Keep in the back of your mind that the 2020 partisan lean, D+5 got a lot bluer this cycle— D+8.) Aside from being pro-Choice, Smith is a Republican with a “D” next to her name. Garcia beat her twice in the 2020 special election cycle and then twice this cycle as well. In the 2020 general, Biden won the district 55.1% to 42.7%, a healthy 12.4% spread. Biden’s coattails in the D+5 district nearly did the trick for her. She only lost by 333 votes (out of 338,943 cast). This year, without Biden to turn out the voters for her— but despite the bluer terrain— Smith flipped spectacularly, 89,550 (54.2%) to 75,704 (45.8%). The DCCC could well run her again in 2024— or perhaps even someone worse than her, Quaye Quartey, a Blue Dog many at the DCCC wanted to run this year.
Garcia is a steadfast McCarthy ally but if he wants to remain in Congress after the 2024 election, he will have to at least consider moderating his extreme right positions enough to appeal to the suburban Los Angeles County district’s many independent swing voters. Either that or he can count on the California Democratic Party and the DCCC to keep handing him unelectable garbage candidates. And that wouldn’t be a stretch to count on either.
Nor was Christy Smith even the worst candidate the California Democratic Party and the DCCC came up with this cycle. Arguably the worst of the worst was Central Valley Assemblyman Rudy Salas, the spectacularly corrupt leader of Sacramento’s hated “Mod Squad,” California’s own version of the Blue Dogs. He ran in an even bluer district than Smith did— and AP called the race against him Monday night. In 2020 the district’s partisan lean was D+9; this year it hit D+10. Biden won the abysmally low-turnout district— one of the lowest turnout districts in the country— 55.1% to 42.7%. That year, Valadao, another McCarthy ally, albeit one who voted to impeach Trump, was reelected— in a rematch against TJ Cox— 85,373 (50.4%) to 83,619 (49.6%). Cox didn’t run for a third time so the Democrats found someone even worse, Salas.
And, predictably, Salas did even worse than Cox did, losing 51,842 (51.7%) to 48,561 (48.3%). Yesterday a senior member of the California Democratic Party Central Committee told that “There was no worse possible choice than Salas. If Valadao had to pick his own plausible opponent, he probably would have picked Rudy, a demoralizing candidate-- demoralizing for Democrats-- who would guarantee the lowest possible turnout in a district that already has the worst turnout in the state.” (100,303 people voted in CA-22. Nationally, the only district that did worse was NY-15, where one of the worst Democrats in Congress, the Bronx’s crypto-candidate Ritchie Torres, had a joke GOP opponent and together they drew just 87,875 voters this year.)
In all— at least so far (with another shit California Democrat’s race remaining uncalled, Adam Gray in CA-13)— 17 Republicans who will be serving in the 118th Congress will be representing districts won by Biden in 2020. Josh Kraushaar wrote about it a few days ago, although before CA-22 was called by Valadao.
He wonders if the “new cast of independent-minded Republicans could act as a moderating force in Kevin McCarthy's caucus.” The problem there is that they are not all “independent-minded” and most are extremely conservative. He does assert, though, that “The majority-making Republicans who hail from blue districts want party leaders to focus on the economy, not impeachment.”
Monday, Rachel Bade, Ryan Lizza and Eugene Daniels took up the idea that the impeachments being pushed by the Gang-Greene could backfire in the faces of the Republicans from swing districts. They wrote that “when it comes to investigating Biden— and potentially impeaching him— Republicans are going to run into several problems of their own. We’re already hearing from a host of moderate House Republicans who won in Biden districts who are dreading the prospect of overly aggressive probes. It’s not what they ran on this election cycle— and certainly not what they want to be talking about after spending their campaigns focused on the economy… The week of the election, a Politico Morning Consult poll found that fewer ‘than 3 in 10 voters said Congress should focus on a presidential impeachment investigation … or the first son’s politically uncomfortable business dealings— though there is zeal among over half of the GOP electorate for such probes.’ The market research firm Engagious conducted a focus group with Trump-to-Biden swing voters in Georgia just days after the election. ‘In what should be a massive red flag to Kevin McCarthy and his leadership team, none of the respondents thinks it’s necessary to investigate Hunter Biden,’ reported Engagious President Rick Thau.”
Participants in the focus group didn’t sound much like Marjorie Traitor Greene, Gym Jordan or Lauren Boebert. Instead they were saying things like “If it wasn’t Biden’s son, I don’t think anybody would give a damn” … “There’s so many more issues to focus on” … “We have more pressing issues at hand.” True, but not in the rotted lizard brains of the fine folks who populate MAGA-world.