A Progressive Procrastinators 2014 Primary Guide – Part Two: Congressional and State Legislature Races

by on May 15, 2014 · 0 comments

in Election, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, San Diego

calif state capital

Your state capitol.

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you! — Pericles (430 B.C.)

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Today’s column provides thumbnail sketches of people running for legislative positions, both in Sacramento and Washington. In most instances you’ll find a link for the campaign website right underneath their listing providing much more information about the candidate.

There are thirty some-odd candidates running for five congressional, five state assembly and two state senate seats. The way voting districts exist at present tends to favor the incumbents, but California’s demographics are changing rapidly. So this election’s losing candidate in any particular race may well find him/herself with a much more favorable picture next time around.

Unless you’re a hard core politico, it’s hard to keep track of who’s who, especially in primary races, so we’re publishing this series to aid in your decision making process. Actual SDFP endorsements will be in another article, though I doubt you’ll have much trouble figuring out which way I personally lean. Last time we took a look at top statewide races.

California is one of three states to use a blanket primary, or top-two system, which allows all candidates to run and all voters to vote but only moves the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to the general election.

? = party endorsement ? = labor endorsement ? = Dems for Equality endorsement

US capitolUS House of Representatives

District 49 (North San Diego/South Orange County)

Congressman_Darrell_IssaDarrell Issa (Incumbent, Republican) ?

He’s the GOP’s pitbull, leading the House Committee on Oversight and Reform investigations on Obamacare, the IRS, Benghazi! and anything else he thinks will work to keep the teahadist wing of the party frothing at the mouth. He’s got more than $3 million in funding stashed for his 2014 campaign.

Dave Peiser (Businessman, Democrat) ? ?

The good news for Dave Peiser is a 2013 poll paid for by MoveOn.org showing the incumbent to be vulnerable. He’s certainly campaigning like a man who really, really, wants the job. The bad news is that in 2012 Issa defeated Carlsbad Democrat Jerry Tetalman by 16 point with virtually no campaigning.

Noboru Isagawa (Retired Instructor, Democrat)
No Website Listed

A stealth candidate, whose name shows up in Google searches mostly as a contributor to various Democratic candidates. A 1997 story in the LA Times references a $50,000 contribution he made to the Democratic National Committee.

District 50 (Inland North and Eastern Portions of San Diego County)

Duncan_D._Hunter,_official_photo_portrait,_111th_CongressDuncan D. Hunter (Incumbent, Republican) ?

Whether it’s advocating for tobacco products to be sold on US military bases, deporting the children of immigrants or voting to keep the government shut down, voters can count on Rep. Hunter to do the right thing; the Very Far Right Thing. His daddy (Duncan L.) had this seat before he did, and the joke around town is that many voters don’t realize papa retired back in 2008.

James Kimber (Physician Assistant, Democrat) ? ?

Congressional districts don’t get much redder (+12 GOP) than this one, but that hasn’t stopped Kimber from campaigning like he’s in it to win it. He’s run a solid retail campaign in a district that’s massive in size and not particularly friendly to his type.

Michael Benoit (Retired Business Owner, Libertarian)

Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, the only way to avoid another Hitler, Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot is to make sure we always retain our right to keep and bear arms, and the income taxes authorized by the 16th amendment amount to a system of slavery that nullifies your rights.

District 51 (South San Diego County and All of Imperial County)

Juan_Vargas_official_photoJuan Vargas (Incumbent, Democrat) ? ?

For years Vargas was Bob Filner’s punching bag (Filner beat him handily in 3 elections), but that bitter rivalry didn’t stop Vargas from endorsing the man in his campaign for Mayor of San Diego. And when Filner started to crumble, Vargas’ home was the meeting place for insider Democrats in their quest to anoint Nathan Fletcher as the successor. Seriously, Vargas has one of the safest seats in Congress–His last GOP opponent went down 71%-29%. Hell, if I was him I’d be tempted to play kingmaker, too.

Stephen Meade (Self Employed Broker, Republican) ?
No Campaign site

Ernest Griffes (Retired, Write-in Republican)

Via the League of Women Voters:

Congress needs to act to stop the making of laws by regulation and executive order that are drowning small and medium business. What has happened to checks and balances? Obamacare full time needs to be set at 40 hours to get people back to work. Keystone Pipeline needs to be built. Environmental regulations need to be eased to get people to work again. Example: California water denied to farmers because of a fish while farm workers lose their jobs.

Cong Dist 52newDistrict 52 (Coastal and central portions of the city of San Diego)

Scott_Peter's_Official_113th_Congressional_PortraitScott Peters (Incumbent, Democrat) ? ? ?

He’s an incumbent Republicans would love to unseat, given that his district is a partisan toss-up. Peters hews to the center/right (which until a few years ago was the right/right) a little too often for my tastes. But if I lived in his district I’d swallow my partisan pride and vote for him.

Carl DeMaio (Businessman, Republican) ?

Much has been written about DeMaio over the past 8 years of his political career. He’s repackaged himself as a New Republican who’s “not afraid to be the skunk at the party.” His latest claim to fame is getting busted for lifting a political database from the National Journal, claiming it as his own and spinning it to make Scott Peters look bad. (He’s now apologized for the plagiarism part)

SDFP has run literally dozens of stories about him (directory here). I’ll settle for repeating this City Beat quote because I think it’s awesome.

DeMaio, on the other hand, is rivaled only by county Supervisor Bill Horn as the worst San Diego-area politician in at least the last 15 years and probably a lot longer.

DeMaio is just the most hideous kind of political opportunist. Sure, most politicians do it to an extent, but DeMaio is opportunism and crazed ambition on steroid-boosted steroids. It’s been quite a show to watch him transform his narrative right before our eyes to this “new generation” Republican who’s so gosh-darn proud of his homosexuality. Believe us, were he running in a more conservative district, he wouldn’t be singing that tune. There’s a reason LGBT groups don’t support him—because he’s only pro-LGBT when it serves his needs.

Kirk Jorgenson (Businessman, Republican)

This is the guy who’s got Chargers Quarterback Phillip Rivers making robocalls on behalf of his candidacy. He’s the Real Republican (wink, wink) in this race and his background in the military and spook business proves that beyond a doubt along with the well-known fact that he’s a pro-family and pro-life candidate.

Fred Simon, Jr. (Physician, Republican)

He’s got plenty of personal money and likes to press the flesh. Despite his grey hair, Simon was named one of the “Young Guns” of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

District 53 (Central and Eastern portions of the City, along with Eastern Suburbs)

SusanDavisSusan Davis (Incumbent, Democrat) ? ?

She’s been a fixture in local politics since 1983 when she ran for school board. Since moving up to Congress, Davis has been re-elected six times. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, she’s definitely what you would call a “pro-defense” Democrat. She’s more liberal on social issues. Organized labor declined to endorse her.

Jim Stieringer (School Board Member, Republican)

His selling point is that he’s actually run for office before. His claim to fame goes back to 2010 when he quit the board of Grossmont Healthcare District thinking he’d end up with a cushy $60,000-a-year job with the district. When that didn’t happen, he tried to un-resign, but the board wasn’t in the mood to grant his request. Critics charged that the move was part of a ploy to increase his pension, something Stieringer denied.

John W. Campbell (Civic Organization President, None)

He’s the “Capital N“ non-partisan candidate. Campaign donations are limited to $200 so he doesn’t have to hand over another list of people’s names to the Federal Government.

Joel Marchese (Teacher/Parent, Republican)

He’s for a flat tax, repealing and replacing Obamacare, school vouchers, restoring “Welfare to Work”, securing the border and stopping the assault on our Constitution. He’s been endorsed by Carl DeMaio.

John R Edwards (Retired Aerospace Engineer, Republican)

He says he’s old so he’ll fit right in on Capitol Hill. Political philosophy: KISS (Keep It Simple). His top priorities are: Repeal Obamacare!, Restore Military spending! and Reduce total spending and the national debt!

Christina Bobb (Business Counsel, NONE)
No Web Site
No data available

Wayne S. True (Physician, Republican)

Another flat tax guy, who thinks Obamacare is actually a plot to usher in Single Payer, believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, the supremacy of the Second Amendment and Drill, Baby, Drill!

Larry Wilske (Retired Navy Seal, Republican) ?

He’s got the support of the Republican Party of San Diego and is a welcome guest on the Sean Hannity radio show where he worked keep the Benghazi! scandal alive.

State Assembly

District 76 (Oceanside, North county coast thru Camp Pendleton)

rockychavezRocky Chavez (Incumbent, Republican) ?

Chavez is running unopposed in 2014. He has in the past been willing to work with Democrats on legislation, as opposed to the “party of no” mentality.

District 77 (Inland, North Central County)

Brian_MaienscheinBrian Maienschein (Incumbent, Republican) ?

The former San Diego City Councilman wants to build more highways, having jumped on the “Kill the Jerry Brown Crazytrain” bandwagon. Generally speaking he is considered to be a moderate Republican

Ruben “RJ” Hernandez (Businessman, Democrat) ?

He’s collected the usual Democratic endorsements, with the important exception of labor. Web site looks like the kind usually associated with crank candidates. He’s been endorsed by Nathan Fletcher, City Beat, La Prensa and the National Organization for Women.

District 78 (Coastal San Diego)

toniatkinsToni Atkins (Incumbent, Democrat)? ? ?

Since 2012 she has been the majority leader of the California Assembly. She’s was elected by the Democratic caucus to be the first Speaker of the Assembly from San Diego, the first out lesbian and the third woman to hold the post. Her father was a miner, she grew up in a home without running water and ended up attending the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her priorities include affordable housing, workers’ rights, neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment of San Diego’s older urban neighborhoods. In short, she’s fabulous.

Barbara Decker (Real Estate, Republican) ?

Her supporters include teahadist gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly and the US Gun Club. Back in 2012 she was a featured speaker at at Sacramento Eagle Forum gathering on the UN Agenda 21 conspiracy. And if have any remaining doubts about her right wing cred, check out this campaign video.

Kevin Melton (Political Consultant, Republican)

He ran for Los Angeles City Council in 2003 and 2007, moved to San Diego in 2008, and worked on Kevin Faulconer’s campaign finance committee. Due to a mix up at the registrar of voters the local GOP failed to consider him in endorsement process. Based on my reading of his campaign materials he appears to be more moderate than many GOP candidates these days.

shirleyweberDistrict 79 (Southeastern San Diego and its closest eastern suburbs)

Shirley Weber (Incumbent, Democrat) ? ? ?

Dr. Weber is a beloved figure in local politics and education. She is running unopposed.

District 80 (Southern parts of urban San Diego County)

lorenaLorena Gonzalez (Incumbent, Democrat) ? ? ?

The former labor leader is an ambitious ball of energy, running unopposed.

State Senate

District 38 (North San Diego County to San Juan Capistrano in Orange County)

anderson-754906Joel Anderson (Incumbent, Republican) ?

Joel Anderson is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), funded by corporations interested in imposing a right wing agenda in the United States. They’re pro-tobacco, pro-big oil, anti-labor and anti-environment. He wears his 0% rating from Equality California as a badge of honor.

Frank Tsimboukakis (Real Estate Investor, Democrat) ?

He’s been active as the President of the East County Democratic Club, opposed and joined demonstrations against both the Santee and Pio Pico power plant proposals, and,if elected, would advocate for eliminating tuition at California’s public universities and colleges. Organized labor declined to endorse a candidate in this race.

District 40 (South and Eastern San Diego, Imperial County and Eastern Riverside County)

huesoBen Hueso (Incumbent, Democrat) ? ? ?
No Website, except a place marker up at GoDaddy

Born in San Diego and raised in Barrio Logan, he’s worked his way up the political food chain, moving over to capture Juan Vargas’ senate seat when Bob Filner ran for mayor. Hueso is good (some say too good) at playing insider politics.

Rafael Estrada (Educator, Democrat)

Playing insider politics has made Ben Hueso a few enemies along the way, hence Estrada’s candidacy. The Chula Vistan is a political novice, who’s been endorsed by the City Heights Democratic Club and the United Taxi Workers of San Diego.

vote now

You have until May 19th to register to vote in this election.


For more of our June 2014 primary coverage, go here.


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