The California redistricting commission scrambled the Central Valley congressional map a bit. Not counting the new CA-27 (former CA-25, which just has a tiny piece of the Central Valley and is held by Republican Mike Garcia because Democrats keep nominating horrible conservative candidates that no one wants to vote for and which they will probably do again next year), there are two districts where the Democrats have a good shot to flip seats from red to blue.
Devin Nunes' old district (CA-22) is now CA-21 and it went from a fairly safe GOP (seat) to a fairly safe Democratic seat with a D+16 advantage. Nunes has resigned and the seat is now empty, which would indicate a special election in April, a total waste of money, since the jungle primary is in June. Newsom should just do what Republican governors do and leave it empty for a few months. People who elected Nunes over and over don't deserve a congress member anyway. Wretched Blue Dog Jim Costa's district district (CA-16) is now less safe so he's moving into the old Nunes district. But he can't participate in the special election since he's still representing the old 16th, where he has run up the second worst voting record of any Democrat in the House.
So far, 7 candidates have filed to run-- 6 conservatives and one progressive; remember, in the jungle primary all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, run on the same ballot. The other conservative Democrat running is Phil Arballo, a meaningless nothing who ran against Nunes last year, and the one progressive in the 7 person race, Lourin Hubbard. His campaign will, no doubt, be reminding Democratic primary voters that right wing Democrats are the ones tanking Biden’s agenda-- from Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate to the Blue Dogs who blocked BBB including, Costa in the House. Nor will it get by him that Costa has consistently been one of just a handful of Democrats who have joined Republicans in voting to erode environmental regulations and defend ICE.
I was on Bay Area KPFA yesterday and the host asked me to explain how the congressional races in the Central Valley are shaping up. I has asked Hubbard for his perspective before the show and he told me that he thinks "people in the Central Valley are ready for real, meaningful change. Most are not concerned with the R or the D by your name. Many people feel like most politicians are in it for themselves anyway, and politicians becoming millionaires as public servants I would agree. I have been listening to people here for months as we have campaigned up and down this valley and many of the same issues keep coming up. It’s parents who are worried about their children’s schools having enough funding for arts programs and quality teachers. It's people who are trying to figure out how to afford and navigate care for their elderly parents and grandparents. Healthcare here remains a top issue as well. Our campaign is focused on addressing these kitchen table issues as well as fighting for small businesses and defending small independent farms against big agribusiness monopolies."
The other Central Valley candidate I consulted before the radio broadcast was Delano Mayor Bryan Osorio who is running for the blue-- and now even bluer-- seat held by conservative Republican David Valadao. I'll come back to that in a moment. But this is what Osorio told me yesterday:
"The Central Valley is known nationally and internationally for its booming agricultural industry and its unsustainable yet existing fossil fuel industry. Our counties are known to be the most productive in their respective fields. However, what we don't talk about are the high poverty rates, the high unemployment rates, the low rates of educational attainment, the nation-high levels of air pollution and water contamination, and the representatives that perpetuate these same cycles. Big Ag and Big Oil support their candidates and, in return, their representatives look out for them rather than fighting for regulations that protect workers and sustain local economies."
There have been a lot of developments in this race in the last week. First of all, two of the three very conservative Democrats-- Angel Lara and Nicole Parra (barely a Democrat at all)-- dropped out of the race, leaving just two Democrats in the race: Osorio and Assemblyman Rudy Salas, considered the single worst member of the Mod-Squad (Sacramento's super-corrupt Blue Dogs) in the state. The DCCC has already instructed the media to never use Salas' name without the preface "frontrunner." Please consider contributing to Osorio's and Hubbard's campaigns by clicking on the Blue America 2022 California thermometer on the left.
Valadao may be the incumbent by there's a decent chance he won't be one of the two to emerge from the primary. Trumpists hate him because he voted to impeach Trump and a psychopathic fascist, ex-Fresno city councilman Chris Mathys, is running and he may well attract more GOP votes. He'd be even easier for Osorio to beat in the general than Valadao.
This is the thing in the Central Valley, DINOs have not delivered for the people there, which explains why so many have turned to the GOP-- who aren't delivering either. This is a good time for strong progressives to jump in and differentiate themselves from conservatives-- like Salas, Arballo, Mathys and Valadao. Low propensity voters are particularly interested in races that offer an alternative to conservatives. Progressive Kevin De Leon beat conservative Dianne Feinstein in both these districts. And last year, Bernie beat Biden in all the Central Valley districts:
CA-16- Bernie- 40.9%, Biden- 26.2%
CA-21- Bernie- 43.2%, Biden- 25.3%
CA-22- Bernie- 34.4%, Biden- 29.1%
CA-23- Bernie- 34.9%, Biden- 30.2%
I got this nice note from Bryan this morning: "As the quarter and year ends, I just really want to express my gratitude for Blue America and for the supporters it has introduced me to. It’s allowed a son of Mexican immigrants in California’s Central Valley to become a formidable opponent in one of the country’s most flippable races. I’ve been able to be the top Democratic front runner in fundraising these past two quarters with your help and we’re hoping to keep the trend going at the end of this one. Please consider contributing to our campaign to oust Republican David Valadao and replace him with a progressive Democrat."