By Duane Paul Murphy
One of the most competitive congressional seats during the 2018 midterm elections will be California’s 49th District, represented by Darrell Issa and located in Orange and San Diego Counties. Last year in 2016, Issa won re-election with only 51% of the popular vote due to a strong Democratic opponent, Doug Applegate, who won 49% of the popular vote. Because of the election results and Issa’s support for President Trump, Applegate will run again in 2018 and another Democratic opponent, Mike Levin, will also run against Issa. The state has a jungle primary where the top two candidates advance in the general election regardless of how many votes they receive. Because of this, one of these Democratic candidates could compete with the Republican congressman or run against each other, similar to that of last year’s California senate race between Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez.
Other factors contributing to the competiveness of Issa’s seat include a decline in Republican voter registration in Orange County, rising non-White demographics, and a Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, winning the popular vote of traditionally conservative Orange County for the first time since FDR’s reelection in 1936. Issa is not the only Orange County Republican facing tough competition. Congressmen Ed Royce and Dana Rohrabacher as well as Congresswoman Mimi Walters are starting to have gradual swing districts. The next general elections for state legislatures, governors, citizen petitioned ballot initiatives the United House of Representatives, and the United States Senate will be held on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018.