Former White House aide Denise Gitsham has won the coveted backing of Rep. Darrell Issa in her primary battle with four other Republicans in the 52nd Congressional District.
Ballotpedia rates this election as a “race to watch.” The district includes Coronado, La Jolla, much of the city of San Diego and Poway.
Gitsham won Issa’s backing over GOP rivals Terry Reagan Allvord, Jacquie Atkinson, Kenneth Canada and John Horst in the top-two primary June 7.
She’s a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program in 2016, which “supports and mentors challenger and open-seat candidates in races across the country.”
“I support Denise Gitsham’s candidacy because she has the fortitude, integrity and desire to join me in fighting for what’s best for our region and our nation,” Issa said in a statement Thursday.
His 49th District includes parts of North County and southern Orange County.
“Denise shares my commitment to keeping our homeland safe and secure, strengthening our military, and making our region a place where our businesses can prosper and our economy can thrive. I wholeheartedly endorse Denise’s candidacy, and look forward to helping her get elected.”
Denise also reportedly shares the same campaign manager as Mayor Kevin Faulconer — Jason Roe.
In a statement, Gitsham said: “Having Congressman Issa’s support means the world to me. He serves our nation with such integrity and honor, and was one of the first members of Congress to encourage me to get in this race. He knows that this is one of the most winnable districts in the nation, and having his support and advice throughout the campaign gives me a real competitive edge.”
California native Gitsham, a small business owner fluent in Mandarin Chinese (her mother immigrated from Taiwain), is a graduate of Georgetown Law School who practiced law at K&L Gates and worked in the Bush White House under Karl Rove and U.S. Department of Justice.
KPBS reported Tuesday that Gitsham has raised $425,354 — more than twice the combined amounts of her GOP rivals but far behind the $2,164,542 raised by Peters.
In late March, the Union-Tribune reported that Gitsham hadn’t completed a required political ethics document.
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