Candidate Glut Threatens Democrats' Chances of Repeating PA Success in CA

Too Many Democrats Could Shut Party Out In Key Congressional Races

Doug Sovern
March 14, 2018 - 5:47 pm
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

Too many Democrats are vying for one of the top spots in June's Top Two primary, in at least three of the nine California Congressional districts that Democrats hope to take away from Republicans in November.

"The polling right now, because of all the Democratic candidates, shows that two Republicans in those three districts would advance to the general election if the election were held today," says Katie Merrill, senior strategist for Fight Back California, a SuperPAC that's working to flip House seats held by California Republicans to the Democrats.

Only the top two candidates, regardless of party, advance from June to November. But in the seven key California districts where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the presidential race but a Republican incumbent holds the House seat, and in two others that are more favorable for Democrats than the Pennsylvania 18th District seat they just flipped in an upset win in Tuesday's special election, there are literally dozens of Democratic candidates, outnumbering the viable Republicans. Merrill says that means there's a good chance that the glut of Democrats will splinter their party's voters, while GOP voters coalesce around only two of their candidates. That could mean two Republicans, and no Democrats, survive the primary. The Democrats can't win enough seats to regain control of the House of Representatives, if they don't even have a horse in the race in November, Merrill tells KCBS Radio Political Reporter Doug Sovern.

"The enthusiasm by Democratic candidates to jump into these races in order to take back the House and hold Donald Trump accountable, may end up resulting in the Democrats not being able to take back the House," Merrill says. That's why party leaders are pressuring some of those Democrats to drop out and winnow the field.

The filing deadline for candidates has passed, but it appears some are getting the message. Two Democrats are withdrawing from the race to succeed retiring Republican Ed Royce in California's 39th Congressional District. But there are still nine Democrats, and seven Republicans, in that field.