California Democrat Jimmy Gomez has been in Congress since 2018 and, according to ProgressivePunch, there are only 13 members of the House with more progressive voting records. By their calculation, Gomez's record is to the left of AOC's, Cori's, Ilhan's, Pramila's, Jamaal's, Ro's, Rashida's... Is Jimmy Gomez really more progressive than fellow Californians Barbara Lee, Judy Chu, Ted Lieu, Ro Khanna? It would be a hard case to make with a straight face.
Last cycle-- so one term in-- Gomez was challenged by a little-known progressive activist in his district, David Kim. And with impossibly limited resources-- Kim raised $193,430 to Gomez's $1,401,166-- Kim stunned Gomez and the Democratic establishment:
Jimmy Gomez- 108,792 (53.0%)
David Kim- 96,554 (47.0%)
Before the voters in CA-34 shocked him, Gomez seemed to sleepwalk through his first term, cluelessly collecting sewer money from corporate donors while basically signing on as a co-sponsor to all the safe progressive bills... all the while going along with bills to increase and expand the defense budget, further fund ICE, and continuing to taking money from student debt lenders and private prisons.
This morning, Kim told me that Gomez's close call changed his behavior. "After almost losing to us, we've seen Jimmy move a little left, by supporting legislation like a child income tax credit, and voting against an increase of the defense budget, but we must remember, that these few actions are all part of his performative politics that are being played by him and all corporate Democratic Congress members. For the most part, he's still the same in substance-- despite supporting a child income tax credit, he still favors heavily means tested relief and despite voting against an increase of the defense budget because it's considered popularly progressive to do so, he continues to take money from military defense contractors. Jimmy says he co-sponsors Medicare For All but takes Big Pharma money. He says he supports the Green New Deal but rakes in money from a natural gas company that is one of Trump's biggest donors (Poet LLC)."
Kim's pitch to voters in Boyle Heights, Echo Park, Koreatown, Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Highland Park, Mount Washington and DTLA is that Gomez is just another careerist and never a leader... just a tap-dancer. "We can't continue re-electing a career politician who takes money from developers, banks and corporate special interests that go against the people." He told me that after meeting Gomez in person, "I realized how he doesn't really stand for anything nor is he passionate about fighting for anything, other than the normal progressive lingo that a majority of Progressive Caucus members use. In a district like ours, which ranks one of the top poorest congressional districts of the country, he should be leading and introducing big relief measures and plans that could help address the poverty and houselessness that is gripping many constituents in our district and everywhere. We need someone who's passionate, on the ground, and who has represented and defended constituents in their matters, and knows what our most vulnerable and working class are experiencing, and how everyone is living day to day, making ends meet. Congressman Gomez can say all he wants, how he was a nurse union organizer years ago, but that was such a long time ago and he's utterly disconnected to the people right now and the daily deep-rooted fear and anxiety that our people wake up with. When meeting him after my loss at the polls, I shared with him a list of local orgs that wanted to co-govern with him, while also going over the issues our campaign was fighting for. To this day, I have yet to see him take any of what we shared, to heart."
One thing Gomez really did take to heart about 2020 was his electoral vulnerability. Gomez has raised $1,088,113 to Kim's $46,912. Gomez is working with a marketing firm-- McGuire Research-- to figure out how to attack Kim. ["At McGuire, research is just the beginning. We don’t just assemble and organize data. We turn it into actionable solutions to drive business success."] These are questions from their recent push poll, probing potential vulnerabilities that they can use to smear Kim.
Kim said all of this nonsense is patently false. He is in the process of responding via twitter to each one. First he took on the houselessness question Gomez's team raised. Kim wrote that "Despite the housing crisis here in CA-34, sweeping unhoused residents off the streets and transporting them to places like ineffective temporary shelters do little to address this issue and actually perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty. Instead of sweeping people off the streets, we need policies that put our communities first, like affordable and permanent houses, holistic wrap-around housing services, and more." He suggested people visit his very detailed description of his positions on housing on his campaign website, here. Gomez's sketchy issues page doesn't address housing at all, as though it just isn't an issue in his district.