National Democrats Meddling in California House Races…What Could Go Wrong? | NTK Network National Democrats Meddling in California House Races…What Could Go Wrong?

National Democrats Meddling in California House Races…What Could Go Wrong?

After releasing opposition research against certain Democrats in Texas, national Democrats are taking that wildly unsuccessful model to the west coast.

By NTK Staff | 03.19.2018 @3:00pm
National Democrats Meddling in California House Races…What Could Go Wrong?

National Democrats are reportedly considering how best to winnow crowded fields in California’s jungle primaries for House seats.

Unlike most states, California’s state law states that all candidates, regardless of party, must run in one primary, and the top two vote-getters in that primary face off in a general election in November. That means two members of the same party could square off in the general election, or it could mean that one party diffuses its vote advantage among numerous candidates, allowing a minority party candidate to squeak into the general election.

That last example is what national Democrats are hoping to avoid. In blue-leaning districts, there should be no reason a Republican would earn enough votes to make it to the general election, but Democrats have a candidate problem in California – too many, that is.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won seven Republican-held congressional districts in the state 2016, which has raised hopes that Democrats could win seats in traditional GOP strongholds like Orange County and the Central Valley in 2018. Six of the seven Clinton-won districts now have four or more Democratic candidates bidding for the seat. That’s prompted spirited, and sometimes downright nasty, Democrat-versus-Democrat campaigning.

But the real problem for the party stems from the fact that many of these races have also drawn more than one well-funded Republican. Thanks to state’s top-two primary system, that could produce a scenario where the Democratic vote is splintered and two Republicans finish atop the field, advancing to the general election.

Enter: “national Democrats,” who believe they will be able to step in and right the wrongs created by these numerous California Democratic candidates.

Facing the risk that the party could get shut out of the general election race for one or more competitive Republican-held seats, liberal groups formed to attack Republicans now say they are at least considering spending money to support particular Democratic candidates in the primaries. National Democratic officials say all options are on the table in the lead-up to June – including launching negative attacks on members of their own party, a tactic that stirred controversy in the Texas primary.

Only one state in the union has held its primaries thus far – Texas – and things did not go well for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) when they attempted to meddle in those primaries.

In one particularly egregious case, the DCCC released opposition research on one progressive candidate. The move backfired so badly that it vaulted her campaign profile, and she earned a spot in the runoff.

Could something similar happen in California? It likely depends on whether Democrats have learned their lesson yet.

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