Number of Democrats Running for U.S. Congress due to Trump’s Unpopularity Surges
Democrats throughout the country have high expectations about the party’s fortunes in 2018 midterm election. The unpopularity of GOP President Donald Trump with national approval ratings in the 30’s, is triggering a wave in the number of Democrats looking to run for offices.
This has created crowded primary fields in some of the most competitive races in the country. “It is 100 percent a testament to the grassroots energy that’s showed up at town halls and events across the country,” says Drew Godinich, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“Trump and health care is, of course, a part of it,” he added.
Paul Kerr, the Vietnam-era veteran and the real estate investor who has never run for political office is the third challenger to date in the race to take on seven-term GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the high-profile former chairman of the House Oversight Committee and the richest member of Congress.
Congressman Issa, the most vulnerable of seven California GOP House members representing districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, barely survived a 2016 challenge.
Republican Jeff Denham of Central Valley has eight Democratic challengers lined up and Republican Duncan Hunter of San Diego-area who is under fire from Justice Department criminal investigation regarding his alleged use of campaign funds to pay for family expenses has eight Democrats challenging him as well.
Another Republican Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach, under fire for dealings with Russia, has seven Democrats challengers and Republican Steve Knight of Palmdale is facing six Democratic challengers.
Democratic strategist Garry South who advised presidential campaigns of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman said “Democrats need only 24 seats nationally to flip to get control of the House and more than a quarter of those may be in California.’’
New Jersey –
Republicans hold five district seats in New Jersey and Democrats are challenging to take over two of these five Republican-held districts.
Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen is an entrenched incumbent for 24 years with ancestral roots in state politics that stretch to the colonial era, a town named after the family’s progenitor and a Newark thoroughfare bears the family name, is going to face the most serious electoral challenge he has ever faced in his entire congressional tenure.
Constituents organized by Democratic grassroots group are holding protests at Congressman Frelinghuysen’s office called New Jersey 11th District for Change. So far, Rep. Frelinghuysen has refused to hold a town hall meeting with the constituents.
Republican Leonard Lance of the Central Jersey-based 7th district has the same story with four Democrats candidates willing to take him on in 2018. The three confirmed candidates include bank executive Linda Weber, teacher Lisa Mandelblatt, attorney Scott Salmon and social worker Peter Jacob who ran against Lance in 2016 and got 43 percent of the votes.
Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution fellow and former aide to California GOP Gov. Pete Wilson said, “The more challengers, the greater the chance the wrong challenger advances to the general.”
Mr. Whalen said there is the possibility that the primary winning challenger is too liberal or unsuited to the local electorate.
“You are talking about a bunch of people competing for 40 percent of the vote. So it raises the chance you will end up with a ‘Chelsea Handler’ Democrat.”
Mr. Whalen emphasized that it is important to have a candidate who is a local fit if the Democrats are going to win in 2018.
“It is not about having someone running against Donald Trump as it is having someone who’s the right local fit. You have to tailor the candidate to the district,” he said.
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