By Tim Whyte
As we approach the March 3 primary — really, the Feb. 22 through March 3 primary — it’s been a relatively calm campaign in the 25th Congressional District, with most of the fireworks happening between candidates of the same party, or between local candidates and the carpetbaggers.
And there are fireworks on Facebook, I guess. There are always fireworks on Facebook and wouldn’t it be nice if we could tune out that particular forum for bickering?
I have two hopes:
One, I know the fireworks will pick up once we get into the campaigns for the 25th District runoff in the spring, and the general election in the fall. But I’m hoping the candidates keep it clean. Too much to ask? I hope not.
Two, I hope none of the carpetbaggers make it past March 3.
We have two, in particular, on the ballot for the 25th District.
It’s a seat with a high national profile, first because it flipped from Republican to Democrat in 2018 when Katie Hill unseated Steve Knight. And second because Hill, as a high-profile member of the Democratic freshman class, resigned last fall amid a House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations that she had engaged in inappropriate relationships with subordinates.
Once she resigned, the opportunists pounced — including Republican George Papadopoulos, a former advisor to President Trump, and Democrat Cenk Uygur, creator of the TV show, “The Young Turks.”
Uygur and Papadopoulos are among 13 names on the ballot for the 25th, in which voters will choose someone to not only complete the remainder of Hill’s term but also to secure the seat for two years in the November general election.
Those names include six Republicans, six Democrats and one candidate with no stated party preference.
The 25th has been described in recent years as a “purple” district, one in which either a Republican or a Democrat could succeed. However, if you look at the latest voter registration numbers, I’d say it’s shifted blue.
Democrats now hold a 38-32% edge over Republicans districtwide, a gap that has widened in the past couple of years. The “no party preference” crowd, which in fact is likely to decide this year’s elections in the 25th, accounts for 24% of the district’s voters.
The gap is a little tighter within Santa Clarita city limits, but the Democrats enjoy an edge here, too. You never would have said that in the 1990s. Northern L.A. County has changed.
As someone who tends to lean more toward Republican philosophies than Democratic philosophies — although not exclusively — that leaves me more likely than before to be on the losing side. But I recognize that our district could be ably served by someone from either party, if we find the right person.
From this year’s crowded field of carpetbaggers, likely also-rans and legitimate contenders, I concur with today’s Signal endorsement editorial: I hope Republican Mike Garcia and Democrat Christy Smith emerge as the candidates for the runoff to complete Hill’s term and the November general election, too.
On the carpetbaggers: Many have said they doubt whether either Papadopoulos or Uygur could find the 25th District on a map, much less Santa Clarita. It may be an exaggeration, but not by much. Neither has ever lived in the district, and they’re each, in their own ways, more clearly seeking to elevate their national profile, or sell books or promote a TV show.
We need a representative who knows this district and this valley, and truly cares. Whether you prefer a Democrat or a Republican, it’s clear that we need a representative who understands the communities of the 25th and has our best interests at heart.
We need someone who “gets” us.
We’d get that with Garcia or Smith — and not with the carpetbaggers.
Tim Whyte is editor of The Signal. His column appears Sundays.