Parallels with McNerney win over Pombo Seen, but will it be enough?
Democrats in the 3rd Congressional District pinned their hopes on an emergency room physician in 2006 and lost. This year they are once again hoping that Dr. Bill Durston can win this one time Republican haven, and with news of the shrinking lead in Republican registration numbers in the district, many are taking that optimism to a new level.
Their optimism began with what they saw as a similarity between the history of Jerry McNerney’s campaign in the 11th CD, and Durston’s campaign in the 3rd. The numbers are similar, and the progress identical. Both lost their first time out, registration numbers became more favorable, and McNerney won his second try. is it possible, they wonder, for Durston to win this go round?
Republican voter registration in California is on the decline, but nowhere is the effect more pronounced than in the Sacramento region’s 3rd Congressional District.
Incumbent Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, now has the slimmest registration edge of any Republican-held congressional district in the state.
The optimism is not completely unfounded. Durston, has learned valuable lessons from his first run. Though initially reluctant to face the rigors of another campaign, he has come out much stronger, grown his base of support, and become a much better fundraiser. Durston has grown as a candidate.
Is it enough? Time and time again it has been pointed out that Durston is on the right side of the issues. He supports universal health care, wants to end the occupation in Iraq, is in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act, promotes renewable energy, and supports “clean money” campaigns. Sometimes though, Durston’s anti-Lungren message seems louder than his pro-Durston message.
With registration numbers moving in Durston’s favor, perhaps it is time to tone down the anti-Lungren talk and ramp up the pro-Durston message. Lungren won’t lose because voters liken him to John Doolittle or Richard Pombo. Durston will find it difficult to win if he is simply seen as the anti-Lungren. A Durston message that focuses on who he is and what he will do may be just the ticket to take advantage of shifting registration numbers.
Randy Bayne is Chair of the Amador County Democratic Party. This article originally appeared in The Bayne of Blogs and is published with the permission of the author.