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MIDTERM WATCH: California's 52nd: A “Must-Watch Race” That People Don’t Care For

Duanli Zhu |
October 31, 2014 | 11:23 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Twitter, @RepScottPeters.
Twitter, @RepScottPeters.
California’s 52nd District is one of Politico’s ten “Must-Watch Races,” not only because it rated as a “pure toss-up,” but also because challenger Carl DeMaio is unusual---a socially liberal, fiscally conservative gay man. But people are indifferent.

Incumbent Democrat Scott Peters’ website released evidence painting DeMaio as a “Tea Party extremist” and countering DeMaio's growing reputation as a moderate.

Ronald King, a political science professor at San Diego State University, thinks DeMaio’s positions on key issues are far from moderate compared to those of median Americans. 

“But political advertising does not have to be linked empirically to data,” King says.

Peters won the marginal districts in 2012 when President Obama’s re-election produced high voter turnout, according to Roll Call.

 “Without the Obama coattails [this year], Peters will have a bit more trouble getting weak-democrats to turn out, ” says King, who thinks Peters has a slight edge. “Incumbents often win in close races.”

UCSD political science professor Gary Jacobson, thinks the increasing reactions against Obama have already discouraged Democrat voters. He predicts DeMaio will win because “regular Republican voters usually turn out at higher rates than regular Democratic voters.”

But this year’s situation doesn’t seem quite conform to the political regularity. 

According to the latest poll conducted by SurveyUSA to the 52 District, 47 percent respondents will vote for Peters and 46 percent will vote for DeMaio. Among 400 likely voters in the poll, 36 percent are Democrats and 41 percent are Republicans. 

Facebook, Carl DeMaio.
Facebook, Carl DeMaio.
Although the race is competitive, people in San Diego care less about who will be the winner than if the winner can make changes at all. 

“There really needs to be reform on unnecessary spending and overtaxing of citizens to cover the mismanagement and poor fiscal responsibility that has occurred over the years,” says Michael Nacar, the CEO of Seacoast Multimedia Inc. in San Diego.

As one of thousands of small business owners, Nacar is under increasing business pressures due to higher taxes and rising costs of employee benefits. He looks forward to seeing a stronger economic recovery from the national recession that started in 2008.

“If all the small and midsize businesses would thrive, it would have a direct impact on the economy, my family and my business.” Nacar said. “I hope that, with one of these candidates, that time will arrive.”

Political experts, however, do not believe either of the candidates will be able to make changes to the current situations. They think whoever will have little influence over the direction of U.S. public policy, or people’s lives in San Diego at all. 

“We are electing 1 out of 435 members of congress, and that this election will have no impact on the Congressional majority,” says King. 

“No individual congressman makes much difference these days; earmarks and pork barrel projects are no longer readily available to individual members,” says Jacobson.

King also points out there is increasing data that Congress is not responding at all to the interests of the majority of Americans, which makes the public pay even less attention to the race.

The election is on November 4. Among the audiences, how many will care for the results, and how many will just take it as a reality show?

Reach Staff Reporter Duanli Zhu here.



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