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CA-7 2014 Tag

Since late 2013, California has been experiencing one of the largest, most intense droughts in the state's history. As of August 26, the U.S. Drought Monitor rates the drought in most of California 'D4 - Exceptional Drought', the highest rating on its scale. It spread from south-central California, and has since hit even some of California's usually water rich areas, including Sacramento County. Water management and the drought have been major talking points across the state for the past year, so logically they have also become huge issues for the coming congressional elections. This is especially true in California's highly contested 7th District elections, where former Republican Representative Doug Ose challenges Democratic Incumbent Ami Bera. In the last few months, Ose has begun to focus even more heavily on the district's water issues, though the drought has been a key part of his campaign since its beginnings: he released a fairly comprehensive water plan in mid-February 2014. Ose's plan focuses primarily on improvements to California's water infrastructure, increasing water retention, creating new storage locations, and accessing new water resources. 'Immediate Action Items' listed by the plan include:

Last week, Doug Ose (R) won the second spot in the blanket primary for California's 7th Congressional District. Incumbent Ami Bera (D) took the first spot, winning 47% of the votes. Of course, Igor Birman (or Elizabeth Emken) would have made a better candidate, at least in the sense that each is a stronger, more reliable conservative -- a case I made in an earlier article. Ose does make a good candidate, but in the sense that it'll be fairly easy to get him elected. This is the point in the election where one has to begin to make sacrifices: a candidate true to our ideology is no longer a possibility, so we must settle. It is now time to rein our beliefs back a notch, and play the game of politics. Maybe a strong conservative was just too much to ask for in California. A moderate Republican candidate may not be. In all cases but Ose's, the polls preceding the primaries were dead on in predicting results. Ami Bera polled at 47% and took 47% of the vote, Birman at 17% and took 16.9% of the vote, and Emken maintained her 7%. However, Ose saw a marked jump from a predicted 22% to 26.8% of the popular vote.

Three Republican Candidates face Democrat incumbent Ami Bera in the race for the CA-7 congressional seat: Doug Ose, Igor Birman, and Elizabeth Emken. The Cook PVI ranks this district as EVEN, or perfectly divided between Republicans and Democrats, and Election Projection says the district has a weak Democrat hold. According to the DCCC's internal poll, Bera is the current frontrunner as the June 3rd California primaries approach, polling at 47%. Ose and Birman follow with 22% and 17% respectively, and Emken trails at 7%. The remaining 7% are undecided. Due to the nature of California's primaries, only the two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, will move on to the November elections. With Bera's huge lead in the polls, this leaves one spot open for the three Republican candidates to fight over, and so the party infighting is currently heated. Despite trailing both Emken and Ose in funding (until recently), Birman has managed to hold a strong second place in in the Republican primary polls. And now, he's bringing the fight to Ose, accusing him (rightfully, I'd say) of being too liberal: Birman, who as a child emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union, is a staunch conservative: he has been endorsed by both Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Tom McClintock, and his campaign website states:
My first and only allegiance will be to the Constitution that every Member of Congress swears an oath to preserve and protect. Congress has ignored too many Constitutional principles. Having risked so much for a chance to live in freedom as an American, I will never forget them.
The primary race boils down to this: Will voters go for a moderate on the assumption that will make a victory more likely? Hasn't that been tried before?