Governor Newsom Refuses to Hold Special Election for 50th Congressional District

Written by Thomas Geiser

Today, Rep. Duncan Hunter’s resignation officially went into effect as stipulated in his letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last Tuesday. The 50th congressional district seat has been held by the Hunter family since 1980 and had become a powerful political force in Southern California politics.

The district was firmly in the red and it was expected that the now empty seat would be filled with a new Republican congressman. Now, it seems that the seat will remain vacant through 2020 as Governor Gavin Newsom has refused to call a special election to fill it. It’s within his power to do so because the nomination period has ended and it’s an election year.

But make no mistake, this is partisan hackery of the highest order. Governor Newsom, knowing that the seat would almost certainly be filled by a Republican, has chosen to deprive the district’s constituents of their political voice and leave them unrepresented, rather than allow another Republican in Congress.

The notable Republicans running for Hunter’s old seat are former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, former Rep. Darrell Issa, and California State Sen. Brian Jones. They are now among the angry voices protesting Governor Newsom’s decision.

An era may have ended for the Hunter family, but life in the 50th congressional district goes on and they deserve to have proper representation regardless of who they might elect. Rather than allowing a Republican to take the seat, Newsom has put the entire district in a state of limbo, politically speaking.

Governor Newsom is toying with the fair democratic process and interference like this often has lasting consequences. When political actors use loopholes in the system to attack their opponents they open themselves up to similar attacks from the other side. It shows a lack of foresight—a common theme for the Democrats in California.


Photo by JD Lasica via Flickr