Rep. Tom McClintock may be sweating the possibility he’ll have a serious challenge in November from a moderate Republican who can attract the support of 170,000 orphaned Democrats in the Fourth Congressional District.
That’s one way to interpret a mailer from McClintock calling independent Jeffrey Gerlach the true liberal in the June primary election where the top two finishers will face off in November.
On the face of it, Gerlach doesn’t appear to be much of a threat. He hasn’t raised enough money to file a statement, hardly anybody knows who he is, and he concedes he’s a nameless also-ran.
McClintock’s real threat is Republican moderate Art Moore, who could draw enough votes from moderate Republicans and Democrats who’ll vote for anybody but McClintock to give the incumbent a real race.
Jack Uppal, who lost the McClintock in 2012, told the Sacramento Bee the incumbent is resorting to “dirty tricks” to draw support away from Moore. “He’s just really trying to say ‘the alternative to me is Gerlach,’ and it’s not. I think Democrats have a very good alternative in Art Moore.”
It would be a stretch to suggest the Democratic Party has teamed up with Moore to take down McClintock, but district Democrats have taken actions that make life easier for Moore. Three Democrats thought about entering the primary, then backed out, and Moore waited until the last minute to enter the race.
McClintock, who have labeled Moore the “Manchurian candidate” of liberal interests, took a page from the playbook of Senator Harry Reid (think Sharon Angle) in promoting Gerlach’s campaign. But it’s probably too little, too late.
Thanks to California’s new top two primary system, McClintock could have a real fight on his hands in November.