An Open Letter to the California District 48 Front-runners

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Harley (above) and Hans need to figure this out. ASAP.

Cody Mendoza with a guest post—and an important message.

I write to be blunt and address the largest threat to a California District 48 general ballot consisting of Scott Baugh and Dana Rohrabacher: the Democratic primary vote being split by two middle-aged white candidates.

Hans and Harley, there is no doubt that you are accomplished community leaders who would make fantastic elected officials, but having you both in this race is dangerous, if not lethal, for ousting Dana and flipping the district blue. The historical voting record and ethnic makeup of this district is no secret — almost 60% of the constituents are white middle-class voters, a strong majority identifying as Republican.

We often tout that the 48th District flipped by favoring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. This was an encouraging sign of progress, but Dana too was victorious…by over 50,000 votes. It is imperative that we consider the numbers in recognizing how fragile that 2016 flip was and how easily those voters could again reverse leaving Scott and Dana on the ballot in November. Secretary Clinton won the district 47.9% to 46.2%, Dana’s win was 48% to his challenger’s 41%. Partisan Voting Index projections still have the 48th District at +4 for Republicans and the race holding as a tossup favoring a Republican victor.

Ultimately, the margin of those willing to ignore their party affiliation and vote with their conscious is thin. Among likely voters, Republicans still firmly outnumber Democrats. California’s jungle primary system is unique and splitting the white Democrat vote between two candidates that poll similarly well within the bloc leaves the party vulnerable, forcing it to scrounge up votes from smaller, less reliable groups of voters. Plainly and simply, you both remaining in the race is damning for the progress that we have made as Democrats.

There have been many concerned constituents calling for candidates to bow out of this race to avoid a fatal split of Democratic voters. They are right that someone needs to gracefully exit, but the only surefire way to guarantee that a Democrat will be on the ballot in November is for either you, Hans or Harley, to be the one to do so. I call on Hans and Harley to meet and engage in an realistic, issue-oriented discussion on who is the most viable candidate to emerge victorious in November. At end, the less-fit candidate should recognize the importance of not splitting this voting bloc and agree to bow out of the race. The vote cannot be torn any further and the risk of two Republican candidates must not linger any longer. I urge you to do what must be done to continue our progress as a district and a country.

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