[NOTE: An error below, regarding which state senate district Tom Morrow represents, has been corrected. Thanks to the anonymous commenter at San Diego Politics for noting the error. See also the epilogue below.]
The various election races in Orange and San Diego Counties will command the attention of both major national parties. I have created a new block to organize postings about these counties’ elections (SD & OC politics). I have also created one for US elections 2006.
“Both national parties are going to be reading the tea leaves over what happens here” in California [said Republican political consultant Jeff Flint of Anaheim], particularly with the looming 2008 presidential election. Among the things that will be watched, he said, is the extent to which illegal immigration becomes an effective campaign issue.
The potential impact of immigration as an issue was highlighted by the special congressional election race in late 2005 in which Jum Gilchrist of the Minuteman border vigilante organization won 25% of the vote, almost certainly cutting deeply into the district’s Republican electorate.
Orange County will have a special election in April (with a likely runoff coinciding with the June statewide primary) to fill the state senate seat vacated by John Campbell, the winner of the congressional special election. And, of course, San Diego County will have the special election, also in April, for the 50th US House district.
The combination of special elections and many incumbents being termed out of their current jobs is creating quite a scramble. For instance, a termed-out Assemblyman is among those running in the state Senate special election. The State Senator for Ladera Frutal* is another example. Tom Morrow is termed out, and is already running in the April special election for CA-50. If one compares the maps of his current senate district (38th) and the 50th House district, one can see that they overlap significantly. The other two (former) officeholders who are running, also have represented only portions of the current CA-50.
Just in case, Morrow is hedging. If The Viper runs for the US Senate seat currently held by Dianne Feinstein, Morrow will run for that (assuming, of course, that he has not won the most votes among the 5+ Republican candidates in CA-50 in April’s first round). That district is House seat no. 49, of which Ladera Frutal is a part. Morrow already tried for that seat once before, having lost to The Viper in the March, 2000, primary. (He lost 33.3-23.6 in what was at that time a blanket primary**, but 53.1-35.5 among votes cast for Republicans.)
I am unsure why The Viper would want to take on Feinstein, but here is one district resident who hopes he does–just to get him out of the House.
*Barely; Moosa Creek, which forms the bottom of the canyon from which Ladera Frutal rises, is the district boundary line. So much for single-seat districts forming communities of interest. Both sides of the canyon are part of the same (and very small) “community” in any sense of the term.
**In the blanket primary, all candidates ran on one ballot, allowing voters to cross freely from party to party across different offices. With all the candidates from different parties running in a common election, it is just like the rules for special elections, except that in the blanket primary, the top vote-getter in each party advanced to a general election even if one candidate had a majority of all votes in the primary, whereas in the special election, a majority ends it right there. The blanket primary system was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, which leads me to wonder why the similar system for special elections remains acceptable.
[UPDATE: San Diego Politics reports on the money factor in the 50th district, noting that Morrow may be cut off from DC money for not being far enough to the right. Not surprising, as I recall from the 2000 primary in the 48th district--now The Viper's 49th--that some local Democrats were quietly backing Morrow as the more moderate alternative.]
EPILOGUE (1/09): As to the error–whether Morrow is in the 36th or 38th, the odd thing is that I made the error because I went to the State Senate’s “your senator” page to confirm that Morrow really was my senator. It says he is, but it does not tell you the district number. (I did not go to Morrow’s own site.) So then I went to the district maps, also at the senate website. The map clearly shows the border between the 36th and 38th in Bonsall being Moosa Creek. I am north of the creek. So, according to the map, I am not in Morrow’s district, even though the “your senator” function says I am.