Sunday, September 28, 2014

2016: Who is Running for US Senate in CA?

US Senator Barbara Boxer
Breitbart reported that four-term incumbent US Senator Barbara Boxer has little campaign cash on hand: $200,000 now compared to the $3.5 million in her last run for office in 2010, her toughest campaign aside from her first election in 1992 for the open senate seat.

Lax and unrepresentative in Washington, Boxer has done little more than recite the Democratic "War on Women" talking points, followed by repeated efforts to stop climate change, as well as champion every minority and protect class of recently created victims.

When will California have a real mover and shaker who will get things done for this country, particularly the largest state per population in the entire union?

Dianne Feinstein's foreign policy stance, criticism of CIA spying, and support for Condoleeza Rice in 2005 for Secretary of State commands respect with some Republicans, but other than that, the two California senators have done nothing substantive, and in many cases their policy goals have undermined the Constitution or underestimated needs of California's constituents.

The ground is looking good for another open seat in 2016, and if Democrats are as unpopular as they are now, and Hillary is not at the top of the DNC ticket as the Presidential candidate, then there is a chance for another US Senator representing the Golden State in DC.

Which California Democrats may invest in a US Senate run in 2016?

Gavin Newsom

Likely contenders include Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, an unabashed, unashamed partisan liberal who officiated gay marriages in The ,even though federal courts had enjoined those weddings. He has already won statewide office, but right now has nothing to do besides supervise a figure-head position.
Attorney General Kamala Harris would be another strong, progressive, activist contender of the seat, since she meets the key liberal criteria: identity politics. Beltway insiders are playing her up to replace the disgraceful Eric Holder as US Attorney General. Two years later, with a national presence and federal resources at her disposal, she could launch a US Senate bid and win.

File:Kamala Harris photo May 20.jpg
Kamala Harris
And then there's Jerry. Governor Brown has a somewhat distinguished record already. Prepped for an easy reelection this year, would he give up Sacramento for a seat in Washington? He tried to many times before. If his ambition stirs up again, though, he will more likely announce a Presidential bid against Hillary Clinton, since he has more experience (and media success and spotlight) as an executive. Senator Brown? Only in Ohio.

Are there any other Democratic candidates who could consider a statewide US Senate run in 2016?

Senator Waters?
"The US Constitution can go straight to hell!"

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Torrance/Los Angeles) has developed a strong national following in African-American circles, and she has enjoyed more than a fair share of the national limelight as ranking member of the House Banking Committee. An infrequent yet noteworthy guest on Sunday morning talk shows, Waters has conducted town halls throughout her district, and in 2012 she spoke to the Islamic Society of Orange County about the comity of Sharia and the US Constitution.

What was she doing in Orange County, far outside the comforts of her South Los Angeles Constituency? Vetting support for a  possible Senate run? A long-shot possibility, but one which deserves attention, since Senator Boxer was a House Rep when she defeated Democratic House colleague Meldon Levine (Santa Monica/South Bay) in the  1992 primary.

Then there's former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, but he has outlived his political fame, and despite rumblings for a gubernatorial bid (which disappeared as fast as insinuated), there is little momentum for a statewide run. Same with former LA City Controller Wendy Greuel, runner-up for LA mayor in 2013 and for Congress in 2014, the second time against a little-known state senator, to replace retiring liberal lion Henry Waxman.

What about California contenders for US Senate? Because of the open seat, and a possible drag on the Democratic ticket (especially if GOP chances prevail rather than fail in 2014), moderate to conservative candidates could throw their hat in the ring.
Congressman Darrell Issa.jpg
Congressman Darrell Issa
Breitbart suggested one name, which like Rep. Waters has appeared in the print and the social media at great length: Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. He has the  money and the connections to mount a statewide run, even if self-funded. He could rally the Tea Party base yet draw on Establishment support to bolster his chances. Of course, because of his recent meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, politicos can surmise that Issa is mulling a Presidential run in 2016, too.

Is there any other California Republican with a viable chance of running (let alone winning) in California?

Retired Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley was close to winning the Attorney General seat in 2010 against Kamala Harris, doing very well in districts where Democrats usually register five points ahead of the Republican contender. Despite his popularity and record, Cooley probably wouldn't bother.

Michael D. Antonovich - Annual Meeting of the New Champions Dalian 2009.jpg

Don Knabe and Mike Antonovich are the most prominent Republican lawmakers in Los Angeles County. Knabe has a bipartisan record of working with all types and accomplishing public projects. Would his influence expand outside of Los Angeles?

Mike Antonovich is the more conservative Republican, with a prior record of running (but losing) for statewide office, including Lieutenant Governor and Senator. His latest move to reject expanding public funding for health insurance in the county rested on his concern that the money would enable illegal immigration. He knows the issues and voters will know where he stands on those issues. Like Knabe, though, could he establish a statewide campaign again? Would he want to? Personally, I would like to see him run.
Would Carly run again?
Other Republican candidates include former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, with a substantial private fortune and her own resume of appearances on Sunday talk-shows and  national campaign stumping. Would Meg Whitman consider another campaign, too?

US Senator Ahh-nold?!
Terminate it!
One name that will likely not appear, nor be mentioned, despite prior discussions about a potential US Senate run: Arnold Schwarzenegger. This man ruined the brand worse than George W. Bush's fiscal imprudence. His legacy of girly men jeers, cap and trade, and liaisons with the housekeeper terminated his chances for higher office, and should put off any chance of him winning the GOP nomination for US Senate, let alone competing competently in a general election.

No matter what happens in 2016, the sources on the ground indicate that incumbent Boxer will sit out another round, a contracted Democratic Party primary will follow, and if the conditions are right, a decent Republican challenger will step up and fight for the open US Senate seat, too.

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