Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2014

Doug Ose to Vie for California Comeback Bid | #CA07

Former Rep. Doug Ose, R-Calif., announced Tuesday that he will challenge freshman Rep. Ami Bera in California’s 7th District, becoming the second Republican candidate in an open primary field that is expected to grow in the coming weeks.

Ose represented a large chunk of the redrawn 7th District from 1999 to 2005, when he retired after a self-imposed term-limit was up. In a release, Ose’s campaign said the former congressman’s name ID and familiarity among the district’s constituents give him a leg up in this contest.

Ose joins Republican Elizabeth Emken, a two-time failed congressional candidate who has already announced she is running. Igor Birman, chief of staff to California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, is poised to make an announcement about the race later this month.

The 7th District race is expected to be one of the most competitive contests this cycle, as Bera won the seat in 2012 by a slim 2-point margin.

However, a bitter Republican primary, which one local group of GOP activists promised if Ose were to get in the race, could hurt the party’s chances of picking up this seat. The 7th District is rated a Lean Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

In 2008, when Ose waged his first comeback bid, the Club for Growth helped defeat him in a Republican primary against McClintock. While the group has not said definitively if it will get involved in this race now that Ose is in, spokesman Barney Keller said in July that Ose “is no friend to the pro-growth cause” and “if he were to run for Congress, we’d look at seeking out a viable conservative alternative.”

  • terjeanderson

    The story references “a bitter Republican primary” – ignoring the reality of California election law, where there are no longer any party primaries.

    Instead, all candidates will compete together in an open primary, and the top two candidates (of any party) will advance to a general run-off.

    Ose may stand a better chance of advancing to the run-off than he would in an actual Republican primary. Under this format he can attempt to appeal not just to hard-core Republicans, but also to independents and non-ideological Rs and Ds. (Of course it is equally likely that he’ll still be squeezed out by partisan voters on both sides and fail to make the run-off – but he’s got a better shot using this system.)

    • Richard Winger

      The November election is not a “run-off”. Federal law, since 1872, has required states to hold their congressional elections in November, and if a state wants a run-off, it must hold it afterwards. Two states, Georgia and Louisiana, hold congressional run-offs, in December.

      The California June event is nothing more than a giant ballot access barrier that determines which two candidates have an opportunity to run in the election itself. Also, California’s system is not an “open primary”; it is a top-two primary. An “open primary” has been defined for over a century as a system in which each party has its own nominees and its own primary, but on primary day any voter can choose any party’s primary ballot.

      • terjeanderson

        The November election is a general election “run-off” between the top two finishers in the June primary. And, yes, you are correct it is a “top-two” primary – my use of term “open” was to make it clear that Ose and the other candidates won’t just be competing for Republican votes, but will be facing an electorate of Republicans, Democrats, independents, Libertarians and other minor party members. Those voters, not just registered Republicans, will determine which candidate advances to the general election – inevitably will be Bera vs. the top Republican vote getter.

        • Richard Winger

          The reason the November election is not a run-off is that even if only one person runs in June, and that person gets 100% of the vote in June, that person still has to run again in November. A true run-off is something that is only held if no one gets 50% in the election itself.

  • Freedom First

    Since plunder stalls progress, it leads to even more demands to redistribute even more wealth, thus accelerating the downward spiral.

  • John Allegro

    Since liberty can only offer a history of proven success, along with supporting facts and logic, we must always be on guard against those who attack it in the name of this, that, or the other superstition du jour.

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