Democrats vying for house seat against McClintock | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Democrats vying for house seat against McClintock

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

With the primary election wrapping up Tuesday, voters will decide which two candidates will advance to the November contest for a chance to represent California's 4th District in Congress.

The race for District 4, which stretches from Truckee down to Sequoia National Park, is being hailed by Democrats as an opportunity to help their party's bid to take majority control of the House of Representatives. That likely won't be an easy task, as President Trump won the district by a comfortable margin in 2016 and Republican incumbent Tom McClintock has held the seat since 2009, winning the last two elections by more than 20 percentage points.

However, Democratic Party candidates Jessica Morse and Regina Bateson have helped moved McClintock's seat from a rating of "Safe Republican" to "Likely Republican" according to Crystal Ball House ratings. Morse has made headway in the race with McClintock, outraising his campaign in three consecutive fundraising quarters. According to Morse, 78 percent of contributions toward her campaign have come from small donors, who have donated $200 or less.

As of May 16, McClintock still has an advantage, having raised a total of $1,077,031 with Morse close behind, raising $1,069,201 and Bateson raising $722,825, according to Federal Election Commission data.

Candidates with the two highest votes will move onto the general election in November, despite party affiliation. Mitchell White is the only other Republican candidate, with Roza Calderon and Robert Lawton running as Democrats.

While Morse's fundraising has made her a frontrunner among the four Democratic candidates, Lawton has expressed his concern over McClintock sweeping the election again if Morse were to get past the primaries.

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"A vote for Jessica Morse in the primary, is essentially a vote for McClintock in the fall," he said. "I believe she's a weak, deeply flawed candidate with a difficult history of telling the truth."

In February, the Sacramento Bee reported that Morse had stretched the truth about her background, implying that she was once a senior official making renowned U.S. foreign policy decisions, when government documents and interviews with former senior officials revealed that she was a junior member of larger teams.

Still Morse has been able to convince supporters she is the right one for the job, raising nearly as much money as the incumbent through grassroots efforts.

Neither Bateson or Morse have run for office before.

Bateson, a native of Roseville, worked as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State following 9/11, issuing and denying visas and working on visa fraud investigations. If elected she would be the only person in Congress who has ever issued or denied a visa. In January she promised to drop out of the race if the state Democratic party did not endorse her.

The party officially endorsed Jessica Morse instead in February, but Bateson continued to run for office.

The Democratic Party has not had majority control of congress since 2010. Currently, Democrats hold 194 of 435 seats. They need 218 to regain control. Of the 24 seats they need, Hillary Clinton won 23 of those districts in the 2016 election.