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In 2020, can California GOP retake seats lost in 2018?

In 2020, can California GOP retake seats lost in 2018?

RNC officials hope a “green wave,” “shy” Trump voters, and ballot security measures can reverse 2018 losses

Legal Insurrection readers may recall that as mail-in and absentee ballots were counted after the November 2018  election Republicans lost several seats in California districts.  The losses include seven in Orange Country, a former reliably red area of the state.

Democrats had targeted seven Republican-held seats in California that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. They claimed six of those, capitalizing on President Trump’s unpopularity in the state and attacking incumbents who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and/or supported the 2017 tax bill, which limited deductions in high-tax states like California.

[Democrat Gil] Cisneros edged out Republican Young Kim after trailing by almost 3,900 votes on Election Night to join Harley Rouda, Katie Porter and Mike Levin as Democratic newcomers to the House from Orange County.

Rouda’s victory was especially noteworthy: He defeated 15-term Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher.

Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel lives in Orange County. He indicates that the the GOP’s 2020 goal includes reversing the 2018 loses, noting that first-term members of Congress tend to be vulnerable.

He attributed the 2018 losses to a financial advantage for Democratic candidates that he predicted wouldn’t happen again.

“You didn’t have a blue wave, you had a green wave,” he said.

Earlier this month, Orange County prosecutor Ray Gennawey, a Republican, announced his campaign in the county’s 45th District, where Democrat Katie Porter defeated Republican Rep. Mimi Walters last year.

First-term Democratic Reps. Harley Rouda in the 48th District and Mike Levin in the 49th will also be defending seats all or partly in Orange County.

There is a good case that “purple” districts could be reclaimed, especially in light of the socialism flavoring the platforms of many potential Democratic presidential hopefuls.

The Republican strategists said a couple California seats could be in play — particularly if the Democratic presidential nominee was a staunch progressive such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.

“Cox isn’t the strongest candidate, for example,” said Kevin Spillane, a veteran Republican political consultant based in San Diego, pointing out that Cox had originally been running in a different district with a crowded Democratic field before relocating his campaign to the 21st district around Fresno. Cox won the seat by less than 1,000 votes.

“These are purple districts, so people will be watching how liberally he votes and how in touch he is with his district,” Spillane said.

Stutzman also pointed to Democratic Rep. Katie Porter’s 45th congressional district as one Republicans could reclaim. Porter of Irvine defeated two-term Republican incumbent Mimi Walters in November. Stutzman called Porter a “misfit” for the district.

“I mean, you’re telling me an Elizabeth Warren protegé can last in Irvine?” Stutzman said. “I don’t know.”

Based on this analysis, there is some reason to be optimistic that California representation could be a shade redder at the end of the evening on Nov. 3, 2020. To start with, polls about Trump’s popularity are notoriously unreliable, and the best of them (Rasmussen) has been showing him hovering around 50%.

California has had several incidents of people being attacked for MAGA hats and Trump t-shirts. So, I suspect there are plenty of “shy Trump” voters in the Golden State who will vote Republican in 2020 in the privacy of the voting booth.

Additionally, there will be plenty of “green” for this wave. Republican National Committee (RNC) raised a record-breaking $14.6 million in February, the most it ever has collected in a non-election year month and its second-best February in its history.

Governor Gavin Newsom ordered a moratorium on the state death penalty and looks poised to gut our oil and gas industry—two issues that are not endearing him to the majority of Californians. In 2020, California voters may look to send a message to Sacramento by their choices in national representation.

Finally, following accusations of voting irregularities in key races in several states (including California), the RNC approved a major new working group to focus on ballot security measures and support for candidates facing election challenges.

A federal court consent decree, ended last year, had prohibited the RNC from engaging in ballot security activities for nearly 40 years. The aggressive new step, Fox News is told, is meant to level the playing field with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as close elections increasingly become litigious and, in turn, bring discord, division and fiery talking points.

…In California, where Republicans suffered major defeats in the fall, Democrats changed the law to permit “ballot harvesting” — letting campaign operatives take residents’ ballots to the polls on their behalf.

I am normally an optimistic person. However, I refuse to get emotionally invested in the outcome of this election until we are a little closer to Nov. 2020. I suspect much will depend on the economy and on whom the Democrats choose for the top of their ticket.


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If they don’t end vote “harvesting” they will lose, unless they cheat and “harvest” votes in democrat areas and have bonfires election night.

    Milhouse in reply to tz. | April 29, 2019 at 2:44 am

    There’s nothing wrong with ballot harvesting, where legal, provided it’s done honestly. The video that was posted here at the time showed an honest vote harvester, and she said on the video that this was how she’d been trained to do it. We can suspect that in addition to training volunteers to do it honestly the Dems also engaged professionals to do it dishonestly, but as far as I know there’s no proof of that. The real problem last year was simply that the Democrats harvested votes and the Republicans didn’t bother. That needs to be corrected.

      Even with an honest vote harvester (is there such a thing?), it creates a huge opportunity for voter fraud. Experience has shown that which votes get harvested is highly partisan so the party that is quickest and least honest gets a quick leg up.

      Also, it allows votes to be counted AFTER the vote has already been tallied in conforming to the established deadlines. When we had nothing buy paper ballots, we didn’t have these problems of not having enough time to count all the votes.

      There is nothing honest about this. It is designed specifically to create yet another opportunity for fraud. Just like mail-in votes. The more complicated we make the process, the more corrupt it becomes.

        Milhouse in reply to Pasadena Phil. | April 29, 2019 at 5:49 pm

        Yes, there is such a thing as an honest vote harvester — the girl in the video that was highly publicized during last year’s election was doing it exactly the right way.

        Of course if only one party is harvesting votes then which votes get harvested will be highly partisan. It’s not the Dems’ job to harvest Rep votes, or vice versa.

        And no, it does not allow votes to be counted after the vote has already been tallied.

        I agree that allowing harvesting does create a huge opportunity for fraud, and it’s hard to believe the Dems didn’t take advantage of that. Which is why I speculated that in addition to training volunteers to do it honestly they hired professionals to do it dishonestly, i.e. the girl in the video was unknowingly part of a cover operation. But that is pure speculation. Its only basis is my feeling that Dems will be Dems. But even if for some reason they didn’t cheat this time, the door is wide open for anyone to cheat next time, so it should be closed. However, so long as it remains open and harvesting remains legal, it’s criminal for the Reps not to do it, honestly of course.

          Once again, you are arguing that the law is being enforced. It is not. It was no accident that

          Once again, you are arguing that the law is being enforced. It is not. It was no accident that 4 (5?) seats were declared victories for the GOP then overturned as the harvested votes showed up. The rule should be that the window closes as soon as the polls close and counting MUST be completed and votes sealed by 11pm. That is NOT what is going on.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | April 30, 2019 at 2:11 am

          That has nothing to do with vote harvesting. All absentee votes are counted the next day, and always have been. And provided they’re postmarked by election day they can come in later. Harvesting doesn’t change that at all, and harvested votes don’t get any special treatment.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | April 30, 2019 at 2:12 am

          I somehow get the feeling you don’t actually know what vote harvesting is, and are railing against a phantom of your own imagining.

In answer to the headline question, no, probably not.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to BuckIV. | April 28, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    To be honest, what indication is there that the Republican Party in California or nationwide wants to defeat their Democrat friends?


    Subotai Bahadur

In CA, it doesn’t depend on how voters vote anymore but rather how the vote is counted. I expect voter turnout to plummet. Just as in LA where 15% voter turnout is considered good, there is a general sense that the vote is rigged in CA. That is what mail-in voting and vote harvesting does to voter confidence. The GOP should have challenged the OC scam but not a whimper. That didn’t help either. There is no GOP in CA.

    Eskyman in reply to Pasadena Phil. | April 29, 2019 at 2:16 am

    Voter turnout doesn’t matter much anymore. CA is now a motor-voter state, where most votes come from mail-in ballots. The DMV lets illegals have driver’s licenses: on the form is a box to check that asks if you want voter registration sent to your home. Naturally the forms are in multiple languages to cater to all illegals from anywhere.

    Nobody checks to see if the person requesting is a citizen, so lots of non-citizens get registered to vote, and ballots are sent to their address ready to be filled out. Then they’re either sent in, or “harvested” by a party worker/volunteer. The votes that might go to Republicans or conservatives are unobtrusively disposed of, while the solid Dem votes are bundled, turned in and counted. They continue counting until the Dem has won, then they stop.

    Yeah, it’s illegal. So are the people doing it. Democrats are doing it for “our own good,” and they have no morals or ethics, so they’ll continue.

    I wish I knew how to stop this; I don’t.

      Milhouse in reply to Eskyman. | April 29, 2019 at 2:52 am

      The DMV lets illegals have driver’s licenses: on the form is a box to check that asks if you want voter registration sent to your home.

      This isn’t true. The license that illegal immigrants get does not allow them to register to vote.

        Hence, illegal voting. Enforcement of voting laws in CA is almost non-existent. You are apparently fixated with making pointless legal arguments when the problem is corruption. Just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

        I’ve seen estimates where 2-3 million illegal votes were cast in CA in 2016. Whatever the number is, it is high. Keep in mind that EVERYONE keeps citing the statistic of 11 million illegals in the US. That’s been the number for over 25 years. Yet we’ve been allowing 1 million per year for how long now?

        Once again, you are making arguments that even if true, are pointless. We have an enormous illegal voting problem!

          Milhouse in reply to Pasadena Phil. | April 29, 2019 at 5:51 pm

          That may be, but CA giving drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants isn’t part of it.

          And how does the admission of 1 million legal immigrants a year affect the illegal population?

        Edward in reply to Milhouse. | April 30, 2019 at 12:09 am

        Looks like the times they are a changin. Automatic Voter Registration is apparently “the new thing”:

        I guess the only thing which would keep some Illegal Aliens (and Legal Aliens for that matter) from registering would be not checking the box claiming to be a citizen. Then again I distinctly recollect some Illegals registered (in OR IIRC) even though they didn’t check the box stating they were a citizen (or checked the box which stated they were not).

          Milhouse in reply to Edward. | April 30, 2019 at 2:18 am

          Wrong. There is no box for them to check, since the license they get does not become a voter registration.

          Yes, in 2018 about 1500 alien licensed drivers (both legal and illegal) were inadvertently put in the wrong category and did get registered. As soon as the mistake was found it was corrected and the registrations were canceled; therefore no aliens voted as a result of this error.

No. Orange county is toast. Reps and their experts are losers. As presently configured Republicans need to do a lot of things – and fast – to hold valley and mountain counties. They’re twenty years behind the curve. We’re not even counting coastal regions. Historically, generally speaking valley republicans have been white guys from successful almond, walnut, rice, prune/fig/peach farms and orchard families. Some of that has changed. Read VDH and how he sold off half of his almond orchard to Indian farmers. Lots of Indians own peach/fig/prune orchards north of Sacramento. The reality is – the real politic- is Latino are the majority. They may not all go to church but they respect leaders that do. Go to the old local valley VFW halls on weekends – those halls are rented out for Mexican “sweet fifteen” and 50th/60th birthday parties. I know this is true because I roady for a DJ friend that hires out for these venues.

They gotta recruit both male and female Catholic hispanics. They need to be young and hip and come from working class families. They need to appeal to hispanic blue collar. The new leadership need to talk directly to blue collar voters and remind them that god and honest work are respected and valued and how that stuff leads to economic vitality for country folks.

Seems pretty basic. Latino want this, it just needs to be sold to them by people they associate with on a day by day basis.

    Tiki in reply to Tiki. | April 28, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    I think NorCal 1st congressional district goes down hard in 2022. Republicans have controlled the valley/mountains but thats done with. This past Friday I saw campaign workers rallying-organizing for a youngish white female democrat candidate (Denney?)

    Parking lot was full.

    I’m pretty sure I saw LaMalfa’s (R) people at the local almond co-op proceesing plant a few weeks ago. All BMW and Lexus SUV’ s. No, I don’t begrudge wealthy farmers and professionals. But I’m not sure how the mexican ag crew bosses and crews feel about their employers. Maybe they’ve got great working relationships. Though it’s easy to stoke hard feelings, too.

    I see a middle road between that soft headed white girl who has never worked outdoors for more than a day a month and Republican farmers driving BMW’s.

I’m gonna guess no. Not only ballot harvesting, but the GOP machine will make it tough for anyone to run except a Romney-type, and conservatives are NOT going to turn out to vote for one of those. The GOP is fine with having those seats gone for good. They really don’t mind. The GOP just wants TRump gone and get back to being principled and meek.

“Ballot harvesting” and a squishy left-of-center state GOP will keep the People’s Democratic Republic of Kalifornia a failed one-party thugocracy.

If the GOP didn’t suck, Orange County would be in GOP hands. It was actually hard to lose in the first place, but that’s something the GOP is good at.

    casualobserver in reply to | April 29, 2019 at 8:10 am

    You discount the Dem stranglehold at all CA political levels too much. By design, it is more difficult in CA than almost any other local U.S. to keep any GOP advantage. The only reason why Orange County has been different within the state is simply because the region can’t easily be gerrymandered. But the balloting is certainly a great counterbalance to that for starters (for Dems).

I’m sure the ballot counting/harvesting will be rigged to favor the Dems. Repubs are more than a dying breed in CA….. they are being legislated out of contention in elections.

Hey Leslie, I’m surprised you haven’t written about this yet:

My neighborhood is directly affected by this. It’s a power play by the politicians to bust up residential neighborhoods by exempting developers from all laws restricting their buying into those neighborhoods and constructing high rises apartments so long as they are walking distance of public rail transportation. No parking spaces required. No balconies.

I first learned about it from Dr Drew’s show. He is apoplectic about it. It’s unconscionable. It’s the old-fashioned block-busting scam. Pay off the first to sell with a big offer and then everyone else will take whatever they can get just to get out before it’s too late. You can’t fight them either. Political steamrolling in its ugliest form.

I don’t think too many people have heard about this yet.

Fight fire with fire

    Well, we’re saddled (for a reason that is confounding at this point) with a political party that is part of the Swamp (as in Swamp/Leftist/Islamic axis).

    How we haven’t starved the GOP (the party of romney) to death is amazing.

How many of the “mail-in and absentee ballots” giving the Democrats their edge were by ineligible or nonexistent voters?

The Ca Republicans need to do something so they have a chance of winning again.

1) Pass an initiative that forces governmental entities to treat their pensions as prorated expenses. They will have to expense the pension every employee “earns” after each years employment as an expense that year and purchase an annuity that will pay that fraction of the pension upon retirement.

This should be sold as a pension guarantee that ensures that public employee’s pension will be paid after retirement. It would drive a wedge between the Dems who grant huge pensions in order to gain union support and the employees who are relying on their pensions. When the Dems complain about the devastating cost of this it should be easy to counter by asking what’s the point of having a pension if there’s no assurance that it will be paid. Those that provide pensions should be forced to pay for them.