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Anti-Issa Protesters End Rallies, Turn to Canvassing

After more than 15 months of weekly rallies, the final protest rally was held...

Photo by Alison St John

Above: After more than 15 months of weekly rallies, the final protest rally was held Tuesday outside the office of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, April 24, 2018.

A long-running congressional protest running came to an end Tuesday. Demonstrators who have rallied weekly outside Rep. Darrell Issa's, R-Vista, office for more than a year, are planning to focus their energies on getting out the vote.

Every Tuesday morning like clockwork, since December 2016, people have shown up outside Issa’s Vista office to chant and call for a change. When Issa announced this January he would not run again, a slew of candidates jumped into the race to replace him. Now, Ellen Monanari of the group “Indivisible” told the rally it is time to shift their efforts to get out the vote.

The rallies have drawn national and international attention. Issa was photographed watching the protests from the roof of his office building. The rallies have drawn people with many different causes, including critics of President Donald Trump, veterans, immigrant rights advocates, environmental advocates and advocates of stronger gun regulations.

Democratic candidates have regularly joined the rallies, though no particular candidate is endorsed by all the attendees. The events have featured speakers, costumes of all kinds, a giant inflatable chicken and a cake for Issa the day after he retired. Montanari said reporters from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have shown up to cover the protests.

But now she told the demonstrators it is time to change the focus.

“Welcome to the beginning of the next stage before the elections, on June fifth,” she said.

The rallies may or may not have helped prompt Issa’s decision not to run again, but Montanari said they have accomplished something important.

“We have hundreds of people who were never involved in the political process before, me included. And these people are out walking neighborhoods, talking to their friends and being active in the political process, which I think is amazing,” she said.

The lone Republican voice, Steve Hasty, a founder of North County’s Tea Party, did his best to drown out the chants of “Show me what democracy looks like!” with a megaphone on the other side of the road. He promised to follow the demonstrators wherever they decide to rally next, and was still broadcasting through the megaphone long after the rally dispersed.

More than a dozen candidates are running for the 49th congressional seatbeing vacated by Issa. Under the “jungle primary” system, there’s no guarantee the top two candidates will be a Republican and a Democrat — they could be two Democrats or two Republicans — it all depends who turns out to vote.

A long-running congressional protest came to an end Tuesday. Demonstrators who have rallied weekly outside Republican Congressman Darrell Issa office in Vista for more than a year, are now planning to focus their energies on getting out the vote.

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