Republican VP Choice May Not Resonate In 52nd Congressional District
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Aired 8/15/12 on KPBS News.
The addition of Paul Ryan as vice president on the Republican ticket could affect the 52nd Congressional race in San Diego, where polls show the incumbent, Republican Brian Bilbray, and challenger, Democrat Scott Peters, are running neck and neck.
The addition of Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket helps define the battle lines in November. It could also affect the local Congressional races in San Diego, especially the 52nd district where Republican Brian Bilbray is fighting to defend his seat from Democrat Scott Peters.
Peters said he believes the choice of Paul Ryan will not be popular with many of the voters in the newly redistricted 52nd district, which runs from Imperial Beach to Poway.
“We have a really pragmatic district,” Peters said, “we’re not the most partisan district - a third Republican, a third Democrat and a third independent. Paul Ryan represents really a Tea Party approach to government. I don’t think that’s going to be shared by most of the voters in the district, though that’s something Brian Bilbray has supported in the past.”
Bilbray has voted for the Ryan budget, which includes across-the-board tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, and spending cuts to health care and education. Bilbray was unavailable for comment. His staff said he is out of Washington D.C. this week, spending time with his daughter.
A poll released earlier this month by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shows Bilbray and Peters running neck-and-neck with 45 percent each, in spite of Bilbray’s greater name recognition. He has served in Congress for 12 years. (Note: correcting a previous version that said Bilbray served for "the past" 12 years. In fact he represented the 49th district from 1995 to 2001 before losing that seat to democrat Susan Davis. Then he won a special election in 2006 to complete the 50th district term of Randy Cunningham, who resigned after pleading guilty to bribery charges. Due to redistricting, the 50th district has now become the 52nd congressional district.)
The National Republican Congressional Committee has earmarked $1.7 million for airtime to defeat Peters. But the Democratic Congressional Committee and the Democratic House Majority PAC have promised a total of $2.9 million to air ads attacking Bilbray.