23 July 2007

DCCC targets CA-42

My Congressional district, CA-42, is, on paper, a lot like many suburban districts nationwide - affluent and Republican.

There are more moderate districts, such as IL-10 (well covered by Ellen Beth Gill's blog, and also home to Marianne Wood), where Congressman Mark Kirk has to play himself as a moderate in order to keep the votes; CA-42 is not one of those, however. Congressman Gary Miller (not to be confused with pro-labor Democrat George Miller, from Northern California) is a crook who rewards his business partners first, the W regime second, and his constituents last. His enforcement-only immigration stance puts him at odds with the numerous Chinese, Korean, and Asian Indian nouveaux-riches who make up the bulk of his district, but nobody has capitalized on this conflict yet. Otherwise, this district is so conservative - very anti-choice, anti-gay, and pro-school prayer - that the Democrats did not bother to even field a candidate in 2006, one of only 12 such districts nationwide.

But now, I've just learned that DCCC is targeting this district, seeing some vulnerabilities in Miller's armor. They have recruited a strong candidate, Ron Shepston, who is a middle-class aerospace engineer and Vietnam veteran; on those fronts, he is a lot like the average Republican in the district. Nevertheless, his platform of accountability, support of science, and sound foreign and domestic policy clearly identify him as a modern-day Democrat who will also serve his constituents first.

Given the reactionary politics of my area, where I was the only one on my block to not have a Bush-Cheney '04 yard sign out, Shepston will face an uphill battle. But the involvement by DCCC will surely make things interesting - and the Republicans will have to counter by pumping money and resources in to defend Miller's "safe" seat. This will leave other Republican districts - such as, say, IL-10 - vulnerable.

Shepston's another edge is his online activism, having been a regular both at Daily Kos and at Facebook. This will enable him to amass support from both within and outside the district easily.

Shepston's campaign must particularly use immigration as a wedge issue to pry Miller's Asian supporters away; in this conservative district, it's the only wedge issue that matters. A good immigration platform, combining security with economics, will surely work wonders.

I intend to leave for another district well before the 2008 elections. However, I will be glad to support the Shepston campaign in any way I can.

Ron Shepston for Congress
Daily Kos discussion on Shepston