For DeMaio, Does Run for Congress Mix with Recall Effort and Gas Tax Repeal?

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Former San Diego City Councilman and talk radio host Carl DeMaio pulled nomination papers to challenge fellow Republican incumbent Duncan Hunter in the 50th Congressional District. DeMaio has also been the face of two efforts headed to California ballots—the recall of state Senator Josh Newman and the repeal of the recent gas tax increase. Will DeMaio’s congressional ambition interfere with his ballot efforts?

The Newman recall was spearheaded by DeMaio and is on the June ballot, although his connection to the recall has waned. Should DeMaio qualify for the congressional race he would also be on the June ballot in a highly contested race not only with the incumbent but also with others seeking the same office. Taking on the Orange County/Los Angeles County state senator while running for a congressional seat based in San Diego is unlikely.

For DeMaio, the gas tax repeal would be easier to incorporate into his congressional campaign.

Assuming the measure qualifies for the ballot in November and DeMaio finishes in one of the top two spots in the June congressional primary, he can argue his tax repeal effort is an example of how he stands up for constituents.

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who also supports the gas tax repeal, said, “I don’t think there is anything inconsistent with Carl running for congress and being a prime spokesman on the gas tax effort.”

Coupal said the repeal initiative is “on track to qualify” and is a main concern for his organization because it hits the middle class and is consumer driven.

If DeMaio concentrates on the congressional contest there will be others to pick up the momentum on both the recall and the repeal. California Republican leaders have been eager to battle on both fronts and have made financial commitments to both the recall effort and the initiative campaign.

In fact, the gas tax repeal is driven in part by Republicans in congress who are concerned that there may not be a Republican candidate in either the governor of U.S. Senate contests in November that would encourage Republican voters to cast ballots. Republican leaders feel that the gas tax repeal just might be the lure for those voters.

If that logic is sound, DeMaio, if a candidate for congress in November, just might benefit from the repeal effort.

However, the recall would require a new main voice, most likely a candidate who wants to replace Newman. DeMaio’s presence in the recall election would disappear.

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