Bios and Picks for Los Angeles County races: Congressional candidates

As you may know, I’ve gotten more involved behind the scenes since my campaign for congress.  I made a commitment to play “zone defense” in the LAGOP, rather than “chase the soccer ball.”  I must say I’m pleased with our field of candidates this year, which may or may not have been partially due to my efforts. 

The major effort now is to get all these candidates in the top two finalists in the March primary which wins them a spot in the 2020 general election.  If our candidates can get that far, we can run a real insurgent campaign for the general, with surprising results. 

So, in rough order of importance, I give you my experience and recommendation of key candidates in Los Angeles county races:

Mike Garcia – CA 25 – Palmdale / Antelope Valley / Santa Clarita

This is the most winnable congressional seat in LA County, and is therefore the top race to watch.  After Katie Hill beat Republican incumbent Steve Knight for this seat back in 2018, Mike Garcia vowed to take it back.  He had a half million in fundraising and over 100 volunteers for his campaign, when Katie Hill resigned in disgrace due to her sexual improprieties. 

Unfortunately, such a high profile resignation is a big shiny soccer ball that attracts all the kids to the playing field.  Knight, who was content to sit this one out, decided to come back in.  George Papadopoulos also jumped in, also as a Republican, while Cenk Uygur of Young Turks fame has jumped in, and is looking to pull the Democrat candidate to the left.  The issue here is two high profile Demcorats against three or more Republicans really threatens to keep us out of the general election – if we don’t coalesce around a candidate.  And, while Mike Garcia did not get the LAGOP endorsement, he came close, with 60% of the vote (Knight got 34%, Papadopoulos got 6%).

It’s vital therefore that Republicans coalesce around one candidate and rally for him.  I strongly endorse Garcia for this role.  He was building his campaign before it was cool, and he’s running a proper modern campaign.  I think Knight should stick with his original plan of sitting this one out. 

Eric Early – CA 28 – Hollywood / Burbank

Eric Early is about a standup Republican as it gets, running against as toxic a Democrat as they come – Adam Schiff.  Early ran a standup campaign for state attorney general last year, an impossible campaign for a statewide race. Everyone in LAGOP knows him and nobody has any mean words to say about him.  He has a solid volunteer base as well as fundraising.  Two other candidates stand in his way to get to the general: Jennifer Barboza and Jon Hollis.  Barboza, an independent, got a lot of money and press through Omar Navarro, who is now in all sorts of legal trouble.  Jon Hollis is registered Republican, but apparently ran off to Texas to run in a seat there.  Trouble is he might still be on the ballot to draw away Republican votes.

Joe Collins – CA 43 – Inglewood / South Bay

Another well-known Democrat holds this seat – Maxine Waters.  Joe Collins is a younger upstart in the LAGOP but no less of a standup guy.  He has backing from major RNC people and looks like he has a proper professional campaign staff.  My meetings with him have all been positive – he’s a busy guy but always has time to say hello. 

His main obstacle is Omar Navarro, who is also running with a Republican ticket.  Omar has had a knack for eliciting controversy, and it looks like it’s blowing up in his face.  But Omar’s main problem is he literally is a RINO – he has made no effort to make friends in the GOP, and in fact built his name off smearing the GOP as some deep state conspiracy. 

Joe does not have this problem.  If he makes top two, he should prove a major threat to Maxine Waters, tapping into some of her core constituencies.

James Bradley – CA 33 – Malibu / Beach Cities

The top Republican vote getter for Senate in California’s 2018 race, James Bradley is another standup Republican.  He is very much a team player, cooperating with me to get out of the CA 28 race and into a race where we had no candidates.  He has the official LAGOP endorsement for this race, the only other Republican being a relative unknown (Sarah Sun Liew). 

A couple of independent contenders threaten to keep him from the general election.  First is Ken Wright.  Ken was the CA33 Republican candidate for the last couple races, but has decided to run as an independent this year.  The other is Brandon Fricke, best known for being Tomi Lahren’s fiancé.  Rumors are he dropped out – his campaign’s last tweet was December 5th – but he will probably still be on the ballot.

My issue with both these guys is they have quite the conservative pedigree.  Who do they think they’re fooling by running as independents?  The root word of “candidate” is “candid”, and if you can’t be candid about who you are, your opponents will do it for you.  And more importantly, if you hide from your beliefs, you’ve already lost.  Two things in the middle of the road – yellow stripes and roadkill.

If you’re tempted to vote for either of these two, I’d recommend against it.  Let’s get James Bradley to the top two, and then we can all coalesce behind a proper Republican campaign to unseat Ted Lieu.

Errol Webber – CA 37 – Culver City / Crenshaw

Errol has taken the torch from me for this district.  He’s a Republican, and the only challenger running, so making top two won’t be an issue for him.  You may have seen a couple of his viral videos making the rounds.  I admire his enthusiasm, and look forward to seeing what publicity stunts he pulls in the coming months.

Joanne Wright – CA 34 – Downtown / Koreatown

I’ve been hunting for a candidate for this district for months.  We have no active GOP committee in this area, and the 2018 general election featured incumbent Democrat Jimmy Gomez vs. a Green.  This district is where the vagrancy epidemic hits hardest, and sees some major foundations and city government fighting with community residents to let vagrants sleep anywhere they want. 

I was about to give up hope, when Joanne Wright stepped into the fold at the last minute and declared her candidacy (if the name sounds familiar, she’s Ken Wright’s sister).  She has refreshing, common sense answers to deal with vagrancy.  Given the relatively conservative population of Koreatown, she should pose a real threat to Gomez from the right.  I’m looking forward to helping her campaign.

Johnny Nalbandian – CA 27 – Pasadena / San Gabriel

Johnny ran against Adam Schiff back in 2018, and spent a good deal of his own money to do it. He’s one of your classic MAGA livestreamers. A bit of a loose cannon, he’s always charismatic, always at GOP events, always looking for new forms of publicity. He’s running only against the incumbent and one other relatively unknown Republican. So I’m not particularly worried about his chances to make top two.