By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Most people don’t know who their congressman is. I know mine; his name is Darrell Issa.
Of 435 congressional district representatives, one of the best known is Issa. Since winning election against crackpot ultra-right wingers in 2000 to fiercely battling the Barack Obama Administration, Issa is one of a handful of House members that anyone can name.
Hillary Clinton’s record-setting November sweep of California was unbelievable considering California’s voting history that produced national Republican heavyweight Presidential contenders — Governor/Vice-Presidential candidate/Senator Hiram Johnson, Governor/Vice-Presidential candidate/Chief Justice Earl Warren, Senator Bill Knowland, plus, of course, Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
Clinton swamped traditional Republican Orange County (by 102,000 votes) and San Diego (by 257,710 votes). She almost took down Issa, whose well-educated, prosperous district (median income $67,018) has always favored Republicans. Normally Issa has been a big winner; this time he barely survived by 1,621 votes.
The closeness of the vote has encouraged Democrats to turn public town hall meetings into feeding frenzy-like shouting matches about Washington and Trump. Every Tuesday, professional Democrat-led groups demonstrate outside Issa’s 49th district office in Vista. Their issues: Issa’s support of President Trump and his vote to replace Obamacare. Defeating Issa in 2018 is their dream.
I have bad news for these wishful thinkers. Democrats are still an overwhelming minority in the district with Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents outnumbering them 2.5 to 1. Turnout was a gigantic anti-Trump, pro-Hillary “83 percent” according to Issa himself. It caused him to lose the two thirds of the district in San Diego County (108,215 Issa vs. 123,167 for Democrat Doug Applegate) while winning “hugely” in the one-third of the district in Orange County (Issa 47,673 to Applegate’s 31,100).
There has never been an “83” percent turnout before last November. There won’t be in November 2018.
Issa has averaged around 60 percent victories since his first in 2000. The lower the turnout from the 2016 record, the larger Issa’s margin of victory will be in 2018. Remember, he won despite an “83 percent” turnout.
The Congressman is campaigning hard for 2018; town hall meetings and telephonic mass meetings joined by pro-Issa television ads already. He is reminding people that he was a full-time supporter of Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the Presidential Primary until the Senator withdrew (25.8 percent of Issa’s district is Hispanic). He is reminding people that he introduced immigration reform — not punishment — in his first month in Congress in 2001.
His mostly Mexican-American factory workforce (car alarms that made him rich) loved their boss; he has always done well with the large Mexican American population until Clinton temporarily siphoned them off. They will return.
Issa’s district was created in 2012 to be a Republican district with a Republican incumbent — Issa. It was created by Democrats on a “non-partisan” reapportionment commission. Karma!
Attention — weekly demonstrators, “enraged” town hall participants and people that claim they voted Republican all their lives until Trump — if Issa survived the Clinton tsunami he easily wins with a normal turnout. He will win with more than 55 percent of the vote — a large portion of which will be Hispanic.
I will celebrate his re-election next November as I did his first victory in 2000. I will enjoy watching the anti-Issa cabal bitterly complain about his victory and the 55 percent or more of the district that sends him back to Washington; yes, I will.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and the author of “The Armenian Lobby & American Foreign Policy” and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade.” His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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