Monday, August 12, 2013

CA-33: Waxman's Next Challenge

CA-33 is D+16 in registration, making it more Democratic than Judy Chu's CA-27 or Susan Davis' CA-53. While those reps won by 28 and 23 points in 2012, Henry Waxman won his seat by only 8%. As I noted in September 2011, however, Waxman is uniquely vulnerable, while those two aren't. The southern part of the district overall leans Republican. Waxman is not only perceived as a very liberal Democrat, but he's also universally disliked by right leaning Republicans and independents. He'd never represented any part of this area.

Bill Bloomfield was his 2012 challenger. Bloomfield was a former Republican turned independent who had deep pockets. Bloomfield won the southern portion of the district 59%-41%. Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in these cities 51%-49%. Waxman won because he won the northern part of the district, containing ultra liberal Santa Monica, as well as West LA, Beverly Hills, and Malibu, 62%-38%. While going from Republican to independent, NPP in California, improved Bloomfield's totals, even being an independent here wasn't enough to get Democrats to vote for him. A moderate Democratic candidate like former Congresswoman Jane Harman would diminish Waxman's totals in the north and would likely win the anti-Waxman vote in the south. Waxman could go down a la Pete Stark, but only with the right Democrat.

Producer Brent Roske is challenging Waxman. Roske is producer of the web series “Chasing the Hill.” Per the LA Times:
He is running as an independent, placing emphasis on entertainment industry issues like runaway production, and his first campaign spot “will show the intersection between Hollywood and Washington and why voting for someone from the entertainment industry just makes sense to represent this district.”
Roske's candidacy sounds like a publicity stunt, since the article says that he plans to spend $5,000 on the campaign. In fact, his run as an independent may siphon off enough Republican and moderate votes to prevent a moderate Democrat from winning. Waxman remains vulnerable but for him to lose the district will need the right moderate Democrat and either weak or diffuse Republicans that'll make sure the moderate makes Top Two. The right moderate would then beat Waxman in a general election. That might not happen in 2014, but there will be three more elections between now and redistricting in 2022. Waxman will be 75 on election day 2014. Either he retires or gets beat some time before that redistricting.


  1. Hello, David, and thank you for your insights. My recent campaign announcement speech can be viewed at Huffington Post at the link below. The speech talks about the need for more cooperation in Congress and the need to bring responsibility to our campaign spending.

    Best regards,
    Brent Roske
    Congressional candidate - CA-33

  2. Brent, I appreciate your comment. I've been saying for two years that Henry Waxman can be beat if the candidate follows a certain path.

    I feel that some of your message is very strong and will resonate with the 33rd district voters. That's all well and good, but it's not meaningful if you don't win. I'm questioning whether you're in it to win.