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Guest Commentary by Tammy Messina
| Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tammy Messina

It’s time for a Republican wake-up call. The Democrats have a serious and credible candidate in Dr. Lee C. Rogers, who is challenging Buck McKeon for our local congressional seat in the upcoming June primary.

Those “in the know” know you have to have enough money to launch and run a successful campaign to unseat an incumbent. With Rep. McKeon’s nearly $1 million campaign treasury, that’s a huge war chest to compete with, and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Many in the local Republican leadership will tell you Rep. McKeon cannot be beaten. It’s a statistical impossibility. And with his very favorable popularity and landslide wins through the years, it really isn’t something to worry about.

But this campaign season is different for several reasons.

First, we’ve been redistricted to encompass new geographic areas. This changes some of the statistics. It also means many of the voters may not even know of Rep. McKeon, so name recognition will not help carry him.

Second, for the first time since 2002, Rep. McKeon also has a Republican challenger. Two of them. Some may try to discount these folks as less-than-serious candidates or unqualified. However, both have name recognition – although for different reasons.

Third, for the first time, we have an open primary. Rep. McKeon isn’t just squaring off to see which Republican moves on to the general election in November. All of the candidates, regardless of party, will be on the same ballot.

Fourth, Rep. McKeon, as chair of the House Armed Services Committee, holds a very important and visible position in House leadership. With the talks of military cutbacks, there are articles in the press daily about his position on various related issues. His actions are under intense scrutiny by the opposition.

Fifth, according to various news outlets, Rep. McKeon has been referred to the House Ethics Committee for review to determine whether the congressman received preferential treatment on his mortgage from Countrywide. True or not, this kind of press is never a good thing, and even worse in an election year.

Sixth and lastly, Rep. McKeon’s wife, Patricia, is running for our local state Assembly seat. Many feel Mrs. McKeon is unqualified for this position, not to mention the local behind-the-scenes, veiled threats that have been a hallmark of her campaign. This race has caused what might have been previously termed as “some division” in our local Republican Party, to creating a full blown chasm. This helps no one in the party.

For all the reasons above, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted our local 25th Congressional district as a “can win” district. What does that mean? Money. And lots of it. Dr. Rogers can expect upwards of a $1 million in campaign contributions between the DCCC and their allies.

Committees do not pour money into campaigns they have no hope of winning.

The above clearly illustrates that, as Republicans, we have a serious challenge ahead of us this campaign season. Local Republican leadership needs to take a hard look at what’s happening in our area to ensure that we do as stated in the Republican Party of L.A. County by-laws: “Aggressively present the party and its candidates to the electorate in such ways as to enhance the probability of a Republican victory at each election.”

As someone who believes in Republican values and wants to see a solid, honest Republican retain this district … this is our wake-up call.

 

Tammy Messina is a Santa Clarita resident, local business owner and a producer of The Real Side radio show on KHTS and SCVTV. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of any other entity.

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