I was surprised as probably many to hear that Joe Baca lost his reelection against fellow Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod in heavily Democratic CA-35, where - because of the Democratic nature of this district - those two Democrats advanced from the new Top-2-primary in California.
That made me think, I will share my thought below the fold.
I remember that Baca did not run in the district he resided in and which was designed to be "his" district, which was in fact CA-31, a swingier district with only a slight Democratic lean that included his residence of Rialto. Even though Democrats like McLeod had already expressed interest in running in CA-35, he finally decided and announced, that he would run in the "easier" (because more Democratic) district CA-35 and leave CA-31 so this swing district became open.
We all know, what happened in CA-31 because of that open field. Two Republicans ran in the primary, state sen. Bob Dutton and carpetbegging Rep. Gary Miller, while there were multiple Democrats with a lower profile ran. These Democrats split the Democratic vote between them, so that Miller and Dutton finished first and second in the Top-2-primary and this Democratic-leaning district was assured a Republican Representative even before the General election campaign began.
Am I mean to assume that the Democratic field would not have been so splintered if a sitting Congressman like Baca had run there? That at least he would have been able to draw enough Democratic votes in the Top-2-primary that he would have advanced to the General election?
We will never know whether Baca would have been able to defeat Miller (oder Dutton) in the General Election, when he wasnt even able to handle McLeod (who had massive support from Bloomberg's PAC though). But at least we would have had a fighting chance instead of ceding this promising district without a fight.
Bitter irony that Baca chose the "comfortable route" by switching districts only to find out, that this route wasnt that comfortable after all...