Progressive groups make last blue push to oust Rep. Tom McClintock from office

Democratic frontrunner Jessica Morse stands to benefit the most from voter turnout campaign

A grassroots campaign to dethrone longtime Rep. Tom McClintock is coalescing around a group of Placer County-area organizations trying to turn California’s fourth congressional district from red to blue.

The Sacramento Central Labor Council, Flip the 14 and California Away Team have created a field campaign made up of progressive organizations such as Indivisible Auburn, Indivisible Sierra Nevada and El Dorado Progressives, among others, to target infrequent voters in the fourth district. The groups’ new district action council will conduct eight door-to-door canvasses after just 27.1 percent of eligible voters participated in the last midterm primary election. Sean Frame, the founder of El Dorado Progressives, figures this race will be decided by less than 5,000 votes, making it essential to get independent and young voters to the polls.

Suz Eckes, co-chair of the district action council, questioned McClintock’s environmental record and his representation of a portion of the state that stretches from the Sierras to Yosemite.

“Our district is Lake Tahoe and Yosemite,” Eckes said. “It’s insane that we have someone who’s a climate change denier as the steward of those places.”

California’s fourth congressional district has been a Republican stronghold since 1993, but some political experts are beginning to doubt whether CA-04 is as safely Republican as history would suggest. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan election forecaster, recently downgraded McClintock’s reelection chances from safe to likely. The Cook Political Report expressed the same doubts in the former Breitbart op-ed columnist’s reelection chances, humbling the district from solid Republican to likely Republican.

“With the surging democratic enthusiasm in the suburbs and nothing to run on but a toxic Republican agenda that puts powerful special interests over California families—it is no wonder that Tom McClintock is vulnerable,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Amanda Sherman in a statement.

Democratic frontrunner Jessica Morse stands to benefit the most from the district action council’s work. Endorsed by the Democratic Party of California, the former national security analyst has out-raised McClintock three quarters in a row and holds a cash-on-hand advantage of $715,094 to $675,811. Morse drew parallels between her campaign and Charlie Brown’s near-defeat of McClintock in the career politician’s first campaign for a congressional seat. “In 2008, Charlie Brown raised $2.5 million and came within half a percentage point of beating Tom McClintock,” Morse said. “Our campaign has [already] raised over $1 million, 78 percent coming from small-dollar donors.”

The race also includes Democrats Regina Bateson, Robert Lawton and Roza Calderon, and one Republican, Mitchell White.