I hope everyone is celebrating losing an hour of sleep today because I certainly am with another segment of “Taking Back The House 2014”. Thus far, we have taken a look at incumbents such as Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Mike Coffman of Colorado and Rodney Davis of Illinois.
Bachmann represents a highly Republican area but the permanent controversy that always surrounds her makes her a potential candidate to target. Coffman is in a slightly Democratic district and now has a top-tier challenger in former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Davis represents a so-called “swing” district and it’ll be a seat that will likely always be one of the tightest races in the country.
So every segment has been slightly different than the one previous to it and this one is no exception.
Let me introduce you to Rep. Gary Miller of California’s 31st Congressional District.
Gary Miller is a tad different than the previous candidates due to the fact that he has actually been in Congress since 1999 (representing the 42nd district until redistricting moved him to the 31st) so he has a bit of seniority. The longer a candidate represents people, the more entrenched they become even though the 31st district is probably one of the most Democratic districts that has a Republican representative.
So with Rep. Miller it will take a bit of explaining to talk about his record so let’s leap into this profile of California’s most senior Republican Representative.
–The “LEAVE Act”, sponsored by Miller, was proposed back in 2011 to “remove the incentives and loopholes that encourage illegal aliens to come to the United States to live and work, provide additional resources to local law enforcement and Federal border and immigration officers, and for other purposes.”
–The American Energy Production And Price Reduction Act, proposed in 2011, would “increase the supply of American made energy, reduce energy costs to the American taxpayer, provide a long term energy framework to reduce dependence on foreign oil, tap into American sources of energy, and reduce the size of the Federal deficit.”
-Member of Tea Party Caucus
-Four former aides of Gary Miller accused the congressman of using his “congressional muscle to bear on personal business matters”.
-Allegations/confirmed reports of Miller’s as per that link include:
It has also been reported that through 2007 Miller had paid his own development company more than $100,000 for rent on his California congressional office. I found some other interesting spending by Miller’s campaign, including almost $22,000 in 2009 for rent payable to Miller’s company. In January of that year his campaign spent $3,700 for limousine services and over the course of 2009 it spent about $5,000 on “gifts” from the Tiny Jewel Box, Macy’s and Crate and Barrel. And in 2008, the campaign paid Miller’s son, Brian, about $6,500 for distributing and taking down signs.
-Target of an FBI investigation over taxes.
Electoral History (Disclaimer: Will only use new district):
2012: Gary Miller (R): 55.2%, Bob Dutton (R): 44.8%
Now another quick disclaimer, the reason that there are two Republicans that faced off is thanks to the relatively newer rule in California politics. The state now uses a “blanket” (or “jungle”) primary in which candidates of all parties face off and the top-two candidates, regardless of party, advance. None of the Democratic candidates advanced.
Pete Aguilar finished 3rd in the 2012 blanket primary and it’s possible he might throw his hat in the ring again though he doesn’t appear to be the most ideal candidate. Justin Kim, who finished 4th in the primary, appears to be an ideal progressive candidate but his poor showing in ’10 might indicate new blood is needed. Nonetheless, Kim made a positive impression it appears.
Why We Can Do This:
Now with Miller’s seniority, it may not be the easiest grab out there but given the demographics of the area it is a very winnable district. The key here for Democrats is hopefully coalescing around one candidate and if they can do that, then should be able to set up a showdown in November.