MOD vs. LIB as COSTA faces SORIA challenge
By JEREMY B. WHITE, CARLA MARINUCCI, GRAPH MASSARA and AARON LEATHLEY
THE BUZZ: A long-serving California House incumbent fending off a base-energizing Democratic challenger. Supporters are hoping for a generational change of the guard, saying their blue-shading district shouldn’t be electing conservatives anymore.
Sound familiar? It should. But we’re not talking about the 2018 midterms, when Democratic candidates deposed veteran California Republicans. We’re talking about 2020 — and the embattled is a Democrat, too.
Rep. Jim Costa embodies the moderation of Central Valley Democrats, whose agriculture-and-oil heavy districts can feel like a different state from the party’s coastal power bases. But as Jeremy reports, that status quo no longer cuts it for the activists, environmentalists and organized labor groups that are backing Fresno City CouncilwomanEsmeralda Soria in an increasingly caustic contest:
“Soria is mounting a spirited challenge to Costa, one of the most moderate California Democrats, powered by a groundswell of local activists and the support of organized labor. And Costa is taking the threat seriously, running negative, personal television ads against Soria. ...
“The race in the Democratic-leaning 16th District is one of a handful of competitive, Democrat-on-Democrat races next month that reflect a broader national reshuffling for the Democratic Party. A rising young cohort of aspiring leaders like Soria are preaching a more liberal vision that can run through centrist incumbents like Costa.”
We’re tracking a similar phenomenon in a few races. The closest parallel is East Bay, where state Sen. Steve Glazer is fending off a labor-fortified challenge from Marisol Rubio in the latest skirmish of a long-running labor campaign to depose the centrist Glazer. In Sacramento, law enforcement-friendly Assemblyman Jim Cooper is defending his seat from Tracie Stafford, who’s getting support both from unions and from a network of wealthy progressive donors. Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a leftward challenge from Shahid Buttar.
Of course, these types of challenges are nothing new. We’ve seen plenty of Democrat-v-Democrat clashes fueled by the restive liberal base. We’re just a cycle removed from former state Sen. Kevin de León’s challenge of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. But whether that’s a function of inevitable infighting in a one-party state or the AOC-headlined rise of an eager new generation of Democrats, it’s safe to say incumbents are going to be looking over their shoulders.
BUENOS DIAS, good Wednesday morning. With New Hampshire’s votes in, there are now only two states — Nevada and South Carolina — holding primaries before California’s Super Tuesday moment in the sun.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think that his involvement in this campaign will be a positive one.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi responds to a question about former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
BONUS QOTD: “Mike Bloomberg’s remarks in the video are extremely disturbing. The racist stereotypes he uses have no place today, and anyone running for the presidential nomination should disavow them.” Candidate Tom Steyer on newly released audio in which Bloomberg defends stop-and-frisk.
TWEET OF THE DAY: GOP consultant Matt Rexroad, on a day the CAGOP reiterated it’s not supporting this year’s Proposition 13: “Prop numbers 8, 13, and 187 should be retired and never used again. It just leads to voter confusion.”
WHERE’S GAVIN? Back in California after his East Coast swing.