I've been asked a couple of questions about CA-31.
Won't Gary Miller, as an incumbent, lock up Republican support for the primary, leaving little support for another Republican?
Congressman Gary Miller isn't a popular local politician. He's only recently moved to the district. He served his old district for 4 terms going into the 2010 election. He only got 48.8% of the Republican vote in the primary. A credible challenger can take a lot of votes from him, just as Bob Dutton did last year. The question is whether enough to top all the Democrats.
Do you think the Republican establishment will back a challenger to Miller?
The California Republican establishment doesn't need to do anything. A candidate does. Bob Dutton had no establishment support. If one of the candidates I mentioned in the last post, he's going to get votes.
Joe Baca isn't well liked locally. He won't get a lot of votes.
I don't know where the idea that Joe Baca isn't well liked locally comes from. He was elected multiple times in a district which contained some of the current district. In 2012, he beat Gloria Negrete McLeod 45%-36% in a primary without Republicans in 2012. He has a sick number of local endorsements. Pete Aguilar doesn't list endorsements on his website. He has some congressional endorsements, but outside of that I'm not sure.
Baca has high name recognition, experience, knows how to win campaigns, and is going to raise money. None of the candidates who combined to get more Democratic votes than Aguilar had any of that. If Justin Kim can get 13.5% of the vote in the primary, a candidate with more going for him than Kim had can get at least that much. If all four Democratic candidates stay in the race, they'll split the Democratic vote. No one will top 20%. There's no way to prevent that. The Democrats' only hope is that a strong second Republican doesn't get in the race and, if he does, he isn't as adept as Bob Dutton was at getting votes.