You've probably seen the incredible news: the Democrat running for Congress in the 49th Congressional District is tied with longtime Representative Darell Issa, according to a poll by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Doug Applegate, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and JAG lawyer, has a real opportunity to pick up this seat and defeat one of the most despised Republicans in Congress.
For years Democrats have asked me about beating Issa. I dutifully explained that it was nearly impossible for four fundamental reasons. First, Republicans held an 8% advantage in voter registration (nearly 40,000 votes). Second, Issa has the advantages of incumbency, including name identification and voter complacency. Third, as the richest member of Congress, he could easily write a million-dollar check to self-fund a campaign if necessary. Finally, while we have seen recent candidates Tettleman and Peiser reach the mid-40 percentiles in their grassroots runs against Issa, the Orange County portion of the district (where Democrats place in the low-30s) was a huge drag.
This year the stars have aligned for change. While Applegate has little name identification with voters and ran a low-key primary campaign, his profile as a military veteran and lawyer is an excellent match for the 49th District, which includes USMC base Camp Pendleton and a large veterans population. Meanwhile, Darrell Issa has been out of touch and out of sync with the more moderate voters of his district, especially in the coastal cities from Carlsbad south that he inherited in the 2010 redistricting.
As Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Issa was a disaster. He led an endless parade of politically motivated hearings for show. He infamously denied Sandra Fluke the opportunity to speak about women's reproductive issues because she was "unqualified" while allowing a lineup of middle-aged men to pontificate. He started the baseless Benghazi witch hunt against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the discredited Fast and Furious investigation against Attorney General Eric Holder, and the IRS investigation that destroyed the lives and careers of federal employees who were doing their jobs. Eventually he was removed from the chairmanship of his committee and relegated to the bank bench.
As a party-line Republican, Issa has taken every opportunity to lie about President Obama and to cast his votes against women, immigration reform, jobs bills, bank regulation reform, Obamacare, and whatever else they put before him. Finally, he has endorsed Donald Trump along with his insults, his wall, his lies, and his disastrous shoot-from-the-hip policies.
All of this has put Issa at odds with the voters in his district. The times and tides have changed, and Issa might soon be swept out in a tsunami of voter revulsion against Trump and hardline Republicans. He can spend millions of dollars on his campaign, but this time he has met his match in Doug Applegate and the countless Democrats around the country who would love to see Issa run out of Congress.
Raised in a union family in Ohio, Applegate is a lifelong Democrat. He served our country for decades as a U.S. Marine and is sincere about continuing his service in the U.S. Congress. Please go to www.applegateforcongress.com to sign up to volunteer and/or make a contribution today. This is your chance to be part of retiring Darrell Issa once and for all.