DC needs to butt out of California-31

DC needs to butt out of California-31

by digby

One of my biggest gripes against the Democratic Party is its insistence on getting involved in primary races when it has no reason to do it other than some personal preference on the part of a DC dignitary. There is no better example of this than the race in California's 31st congressional district.

The seat is currently held by a right wing Republican so you might think it makes sense for the Party to intervene if they think they have a chance to take it back but only with a candidate who "can win."  But this is not the case. This is a Democratic seat (Obama beat Romney 57-41%) that is only in the hands of a Republican because of California's inane jungle primary system and mismanagement by the DCCC. Let me have Howie explain what happened as only he can:
Gary Miller, a multimillionaire, crooked Confederate Civil War reenactor from Arkansas was always an odd pick for the new Inland Empire district carved 2 years ago out of the districts of retiring congressmen David Dreier and Jerry Lewis and defeated Blue Dog, Joe Baca. The only reason Miller won is because DCCC Chairman Steve Israel insisted on backing a pathetic empty suit, the appointed mayor of Redlands, Peter Aguilar. Aguilar was rejected by Democratic voters and lost to two Republicans. He even came in third in Redlands! 
Steve Israel almost looks like he wants to keep Miller in the seat; he forced the DCCC into the awkward position of endorsing the wealthy but socially conservative Aguilar again, despite the obvious progressive choice, Eloise Gomez Reyes.

CA-31 is the single bluest district in the country– by far– with a Republican incumbent…
This is a hard core Democratic district that fell into Republican hands because the Democrat who ran last time was so weak he lost to two Republicans.  And the DCCC is backing the same loser again! There is no practical reason to do this. One of the Democrats running will definitely make it into the General this time and he or she will win it. 

Look at this:

Democrats in Washington have no business deciding in advance who that Democrat opponent should be.

Reyes is more authentically progressive than Aguilar, although he's wearing the label like he's Barbara Lee's long lost son (which says that the party knows the district wants that.) His record shows that he's pretty much ... nothing. He seems to simply be driven by ambition for higher office without any sense of what he cares about or wants to accomplish. But DC wants him badly and one can only assume its because they know he's more amenable to the direction of the power brokers. There is literally no other rationale for their interference or the help they're giving him in raising money.

Eloise Gomez Reyes can take out Gary Miller just as easily as Pete Aguilar and if she wins she will be a much more independent progressive than he will ever be. I imagine that's the problem. And progressives should be pissed off about that. There are lots of races that need the DCCC's help right now. This isn't one of them. They should butt out.