BY Emily Hoeven | CALMatters
(CALMATTERS) – How concerned are Democrats in California and across the country about a Republican “red wave” cresting in the Nov. 8 election and clinching the GOP’s control of Congress?
I’ll give you three hints:
1. Today, President Joe Biden is set to visit San Diego to campaign for Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, who’s facing a tough battle against Republican challenger Brian Maryott. On Tuesday, Levin was among the candidates identified by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as requiring “immediate resources” to win their seats.
2. Also Tuesday, analysts for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said that 10 Democratic-leaning districts across the country had shifted in the GOP’s direction, including three in California. (CalMatters is tracking nine particularly hot House races in California — follow along here.)
3. And when Gov. Gavin Newsom was asked in a Saturday interview with CBS News if it feels like a red wave is coming, he said simply, “Yeah. Of course it does. … Look, I can be the cheerleader” for Democrats, but “I’m also pragmatic. … You feel it. It’s not just intellectualization based on polling.”
- Newsom: “It goes to my fundamental grievance with my damn party. We’re getting crushed on narrative. We’re going to have to do better in terms of getting on the offense and stop being on the damn defense.”
The House races most likely to see upsets may be those in blue states where there aren’t competitive statewide races driving turnout, where Democratic governors are underperforming and where GOP candidates have been able to leverage crime and inflation as campaign issues, Dave Wasserman, U.S. House editor for the Cook Political Report, wrote in a blog post.
At least two of those three conditions apply in California, where the most exciting statewide race may be for the relatively obscure office of controller and where the state GOP has repeatedly hammered Democrats for high gas prices and skyrocketing inflation rates.
- Jessica Millan Patterson, chairperson of the California Republican Party, said in a Tuesday statement: “Joe Biden and Gavin Newsom have no greater friends than California Democrats in advancing new taxes and reckless policies that make us increasingly dependent on foreign oil. A vote for a California House Democrat candidate is a vote for handing over more of your hard-earned money to pay for higher gas prices.”
- Democrats, meanwhile, continue to attack Republicans for their stance on reproductive rights. In a Wednesday fundraising email, Democrat Jay Chen — who’s seeking to oust GOP Rep. Michelle Steel of Orange County — slammed Steel for signing “an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade” and for voting “against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify reproductive freedoms into law.”
In other last-minute election maneuvers:
- Newsom is doubling down on his opposition to Proposition 30, which would levy a new tax on millionaires to fund electric vehicle programs and wildfire prevention and suppression efforts: His reelection campaign just disclosed a $1.6 million contribution to the “No on 30” campaign.
- In a shift from his strategy before the June 7 primary, Republican controller candidate Lanhee Chen is emphasizing his opposition to former President Donald Trump and his support for reproductive rights after Democratic candidate Malia Cohen described Chen in a CBS News interview as a “Trump Republican” and said he “isn’t pro-choice.” Chen first disclosed his stance on Trump and abortion in this newsletter a few weeks after the primary, perhaps to appeal to the Democratic voters he’ll need on his side if he wants to become the first Republican to win statewide office in California in nearly two decades.
- Nathan Hochman, the Republican candidate for attorney general, held a Wednesday rally in Los Angeles, promising to “hold fentanyl traffickers accountable for their deadly criminal behavior” if elected. Hochman has repeatedly accused Democratic incumbent Rob Bonta of failing to act aggressively on the super-powerful synthetic opioid largely responsible for record-high fatal overdoses in California. Bonta, meanwhile, has touted his office’s efforts to limit the spread of the deadly drug.