Friday, February 14, 2014

Filner Fled, Faulconer Flies, and GOP Gains in San Diego

Fleeing Filner: "The behavior I engaged in was wrong."
Last year, San Diego’s former Councilman, Congressman, and now disgraced Mayor Bob Filner was forced to flee from office after not one, not two, but eighteen women came forward, claiming that the long-time San Diego politician had sexually harassed them. Pleading guilty to two felonies, Filner got house arrest, probation, and a pension cut. To this day, the long-standing silence from the California and the National Democratic Party is a deafening silence yet ongoing indictment of the Democratic Party's War on Women (including Bill Clinton Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, etc.)

While Democrats stood by their man until just about the very end, it looked like one more media fail, plus a seemingly flailing conservative opposition, would not capitalize on the fallout, Republicans in San Diego and throughout the state marshaled enthusiasm, focus, and volunteers to get Republican Councilman Kevin Faulconer to win the top-two special election primary, then take the Mayor's seat by a nine-point win.

Even though the GOP ground-game was outspent and out-volunteered by the Democratic public sector union machine, Faulconer flew to the top on February 11, even with the last-minute Obama ground game and polls which suggested that the Democratic challenger was gaining. The California conservative resurgence is getting stronger with every election, and no matter what resources the Dems arrange for their efforts, the liberal-progressive-public sector union phalanx will no doubt be putting out more fires in 2014, with fewer results.

Some lessons for the CA GOP, and grave concerns for the CA Dems, following the Faulconer victory in San Diego.

1. Money is not the end-all-be-all for elections. The mindset that a machine with lots of donations can swamp an election and kill GOP chances is all wrong. Let's not forget that in two previous special elections (A, an independent conservative and a Republican lost by a mere few hundred votes, even though the Democratic candidate corralled ten times the money.

2. The party registration and demographic trends do not spell doom for the California GOP, despite the pleadings of state (Tom Elias) and national (Pat Buchanan) columnists. Last year in New Jersey, Republican
Steve Lonegan ignored polls and demographics as he ran for the special election US Senate seat to replace the deceased Frank Lautenberg last year. Losing by only nine points in two-to-one heavily Democratic New Jersey, the mayor of Bogota could have taken the seat with more ground troops and money, but his impressive showing then, and Faulconer's win this week, demonstrate the power of values, and frustrated voters, against any political machinations.
Kevin Faulconer, GOP Mayor of San Diego

3. California's public sector unions, and their money, are becoming more of a liability than an asset for the Democratic Party. Along with State Senator Andy Vidak’s (R-Hanford) victory in the Central Valley last year, California residents, regardless of their party affiliation, are punching back at a Sacramento Democratic supermajority which has raised taxes, spurred the spending, ignored the pension crises, coddled special interests and public sector unions, all while short-changing well-performing school districts, and has refused to put the brakes on the billion dollar bullet train boondoggle. Now with an epic drought drying up the state, without any long-standing plans from Governor Brown or Speaker Perez (aside from crooked wheeling and dealing), vineyards in the Inland Empire and San Diego are thirsty, and giving California Republicans more causes to take down Democrats in Sacramento.

In San Diego, Filner fled, Faulconer flew to victory, and the California GOP is making gains. Democrats nationally will be facing a conservative resurgence raining on their progressive parade in 2014, and they are already facing a run for the money in California.

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