Even In California, Incumbent Dems Are Vulnerable

Senator Barbara Boxer, a three-term California Democrat, is facing stiff competition in her re-election bid. In a state where Obama won with 61 percent of the vote, and where ObamaCare is favored more than nationally, and where Obama’s favorability numbers are greater than nationally, Boxer is in a fight for her political life.

Not only does she have three Republican hopefuls within striking range of her, with one deemed by Rasmussen in a virtual dead-heat, she also has to face the very likely possibility of a Democrat Primary challenge. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore and businesswoman Carly Fiorina both trail Boxer by 46 to 40 margins, well within striking distance, while former Congressman Tom Campbell trails Boxer by a 43 to 41 margin (a virtual dead-heat). As Rasmussen states, and logic strongly suggests, any incumbent with poll numbers below 50 percent this close to an election is vulnerable. And Boxer polls below 50 percent against all three Republican hopefuls. Remember, this is in a state that voted 61 percent for Obama, has a stronger favorability for Obama than nationwide and has a stronger favorability for ObamaCare than nationwide. And yet, Boxer is vulnerable to all three Republican challengers.

But Boxer’s problems don’t stop at the Democrat/Republican divide. She has a challenger from within her own party in Mickey Kaus. Now, my reading of the Kaus Files suggests Kaus favors ObamaCare as does Boxer, but I did find some interesting reading, which could turn a few heads. Mickey Kaus is not necessarily as pro-union as many Democrats, but rather he favors personal responsibility more than some unions.

I know this item reads like it was written in 1984 (when Gary Hart made an issue of firing incompetent teachers in his campaign against Walter Mondale). That’s because the situation in the unionized public schools has not improved markedly in 25 years. Believe me, I wish the neoliberalism of the late ’70s weren’t so relevant. … The only hope in L.A. seems to be the non-trivial inroads made by independently-run charter schools. The union is staging a candlelight vigil tomorrow [pdf file] to try to stop their progress.

Other heads could possibly turn by this Kaus quote:

“I have no special beef with the incumbent,” Kaus said in his announcement. “She is a state-of-the-art Democrat. But to be state-of-the-art “in our party is not such a good thing anymore. State of the art” means the incumbent has learned to please the party’s interest groups, often at the expense of the needs of average individuals and the party’s own ideals.”

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/capitolalertlatest/2010/03/blogger-mickey.html#ixzz0iNnn71FL

Liberal Democrat Barbara Boxer has to fight off a Democrat challenger in a largely Democrat state and then face one of three Republican challengers, all of whom could defeat her. That is, if she doesn’t fall in the primary.

I think I need to buy more popcorn.
Cross Posted on Truth Before Dishonor


  1. It’s kind of like the line in Tora, Tora, Tora as the Japanese Navy was steaming away from after the Pearl Harbor attack and the Admiral said after he found out the attack happened before the War Declaration was served to the Sec of State, I’m afraid we have awakened a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve. Well, the Dems/Libs/Progressives with their supermajority are trying to change the way this country has functioned for years and change it to a Socialistic Welfare state has awakened people who never gave a wit about politics and pissed them off.

  2. Well, the Dems/Libs/Progressives with their supermajority are trying to change the way this country has functioned for years and change it to a Socialistic Welfare state has awakened people who never gave a wit about politics and pissed them off.

    Fortunately, California appears to be safe from this now:

    About 1 in 4 in California lack health insurance, a UCLA study finds

    The jump in 2009 to 8.2 million adults and children from 6.4 million in 2007 stems largely from job cuts and the loss of employer-sponsored coverage amid the recession.
    People who were uninsured for part or all of 2009 accounted for 24.3% of California’s population under age 65 — a dramatic increase from 2007 driven largely by Californians who lost employer-sponsored health insurance, particularly over the last year.

    Among those over age 18, nearly 1 in 3 had no insurance for all or part of 2009, the UCLA researchers found. The ranks of uninsured children also grew. The study was based on phone interviews from 2007, updated with current insurance enrollment data.
    As a result of the insurance gap, many already strapped Californians have put off needed medical care and usually wound up crowding emergency rooms, receiving costly care on the run. Hospitals and insurance companies often pass on those expenses to customers with insurance, increasing the cost of healthcare and driving up rates for those who have coverage.

    Republicanism is on the march! Well done.

  3. I will probably vote for Mr. Kaus in the primary.

    It should be noted that Fmr. Rep. Campbell is a very left-wing Republican (he opposed Proposition 8, for example, and is pro-choice), as is Mrs. Fiorina (also pro-choice. I don’t know what she said about Prop. 8, but HP had very, very progressive policies with respect to gay employees, and she seems to care about economic issues and not social issues).

    Which is to say: a very left-wing Democrat is likely to be running against a moderate-left Republican … and so it’s not unlikely that the moderate-left Republican will win. Because in the end we’re a state that is center-left to left on social issues and center-right on fiscal ones.

    Mr. DeVore is another question, but I don’t believe he’s electable; the numbers reflect disenchantment with Sen. Boxer and a lack of knowledge about Mr. DeVore.

  4. Thanks for that information, aphrael. Since I’m not a Californian, I am not fully versed on California politics or personalities. While I do get DeVore campaign emails and in them his campaign said he was the only Conservative in the Republican primary, I took that with a grain of salt. I knew Fiorina didn’t qualify as a Conservative but I didn’t know anything about Campbell.

    Of course I’m pulling for DeVore given your information but I suspect you’re probably right about his electability. However, he is indeed within striking range of Boxer.

    I am definitely interested in your reasons for (probably) voting for Kaus in the primary. I don’t know a whole lot about Kaus other than my scanning his blog and a quick look at the Sacramento Bee. Is your decision an anti-Boxer decision or a pro-Kaus decision?

    I look at voting in similar manners to football in that the home team has a decided advantage. In football, the home team gets 3 points in the spread. I expect in politics, the incumbent gets at least 3 percentage points. With Boxer’s vulnerability as the incumbent, I’m curious why Democrats would be willing to give up the incumbent advantage and go for a lesser-known candidate.

  5. Oh, Mr. Kaus hasn’t a chance of winning the primary. Boxer will crush him without even noticing.

    I’m voting for him because (a) I want to encourage political involvement by bloggers whom I respect, and (b) Sen. Boxer has been around for 18 years and hasn’t really done anything notable; I think it’s time to give someone else a chance.

    Should Fmr. Rep. Campbell get the nomination, I’ll have a hard time figuring out how to vote; the last time he ran for the Senate, I voted for him [he was more liberal than incumbent Sen. Feinstein on social issues], and he’s the kind of Republican I want to encourage, but I don’t want to vote in a way which is going to cause the right wing to get all excited about how California has endorsed the tea party movement or some such.

    Should Mrs. Fiorina get the nomination, it’s an easy call; she was a terrible CEO of HP and I see no reason to encourage her to do anything.

    Back before Fmr. Rep. Campbell got into the race, I considered reregistering as a Republican to vote for Mr. DeVore, because I dislike Mrs. Fiorina so strongly that I want her to have no chance whatsoever of getting elected. But that doesn’t mean I’d vote for him against Sen. Boxer.

  6. Pingback: Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archive » Another Dem Senator On The Ropes?

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