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Former GOP Congressman Enters Race For California Governor

Former California Rep. Doug Ose speaks in Sacramento, Calif. on Oct. 8, 2014.
Associated Press
Former California Rep. Doug Ose speaks in Sacramento, Calif. on Oct. 8, 2014.
Former GOP Congressman Enters Race For California Governor
Former GOP Congressman Enters Race For California Governor GUEST: Thad Kousser, political science professor, UC San Diego

>>> We knew the 2018 was going to be a big political year. We did not know it would start in the first weeks of January. We have seen the first California Governor gubernatorial debate and today Tom Steyer says she's putting $30 million into a campaign to flip the U.S. Congress to a Democratic majority. That increases interest and whether the congressional Republicans including Duncan Hunter and Darrell I second hold onto their seats. Joining me is political science department chair at UC San Diego. >> Many political observers see this year's governor race coming down to a battle between two Democrats. Do you think any Republicans have a chance? >> No. A decade ago we were still a purple state. Meg Whitman was a favorite against his old Democrat Jerry Brown. And 2018 the only question is what shade of blue will be. There are some Republicans candidates that had a debate in San Diego County. Without a top-tier candidate getting in the race, the Republican Party has become a bunch of old guy sitting in a bar talking about who loves Donald Trump the most. >> Remind us about the top Democratic contenders. >> The people have been waiting their turn and building their resumes. We've got Gavin Newsom, currently Lieutenant Governor. His bases liberal wing of the Democratic Party. We've got former mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villa gross a -- de la Garza. He's taken more moderate stances. John Chong Treasurer controller taking the Alexander Hamilton route to government. And then the dark horse is Delaine Easton. The only woman in this race. She is a former superintendent of schools. She is struggling to get heard. >> There is speculation that Tom Steyer might be a wildcard in that Senate race. He might even announce for the presidency. This morning he said he's not going to be running for anything. He was a pump $30 million into the congressional races this year. His ads have all ready, against President Trump, have gotten millions of Americans to sign forms against impeachment. >> He has been the other shoe that everyone's been waiting to drop. Really get into the governor's race for the Senate race? I think what he is trying to do is build his brand and his credibility and get a win for the Democrats typing the guiding, driving force in funding force behind the Democratic takeover of the house in 2018. That might set him up for something, say the White House in 2020. I think he still is looking for that track record of clear accomplishments. >> In that vein of positioning oneself for the 2020 election, there was some buzz about Oprah Winfrey after her globe and gloat desk Golden Globe speech. >> Why not? Why not Oprah Winfrey quick ski her speech solidified what we all know. Everyone loves Oprah and she's incredibly articulate. I do not think she is someone who has a long-term deep involvement in policy details or someone who really would -- has been through the ringer of Iowa and New Hampshire politicking. She might not have to with all that name recognition and all of the built-in support that Oprah Winfrey brings. In 2020, 2016 was crazy, why not Oprah in 2020. >> They are looking at seats here in San Diego. Darrell Isis, even Duncan Hunter. How vulnerable do you think those two congressmen are quick >> I think Darrell ISA is honorable. There is a big fight to see who will be the Democrat running against him. I think Duncan's -- if scandal overtakes him I think there are a lot of Republican current and former officeholder -- holders who were waiting for the scandal to solidify and see if he looks politically vulnerable. Right now there were 14 Republicans left in California and half of them, so many of the Democratic pickups in the nation will come from California. The eyes of America are really on the seats. >> You say there's a specific type of Democrat that will do well. That is based on what you saw happening last year. >> If you look at the Democratic victories in Virginia and New Jersey and the most shocking one and Alabama, these were not Bernie Sanders Democrats taking over and pushing a huge progress of 180 degree turn. These were boring, safe, Joe Biden -type candidates. And I think what that showed is that voters are really ready to vote no on Donald Trump and vote no on the Republican Party in competitive districts and states across the nation. Democrats probably do not need to worry about generating voter interest and voter turnout by embracing a very left-wing candidate. I think the early message under the current political conditions, Democrats can play it safe and the no vote will be so strong that could lead to significant gains. >> Let me talk about issues were likely to see. A vote on repealing the gas tax. Is the tax in trouble? >> Yes, I think it is. I think this will have a more evenly split midterm character. I think this proposition which would overturn the gas tax the came into effect in November, I think this has a real shot and could show the limits of California liberalism. We have the rich and the poor underwent banner. There are Democrats that want higher gas taxes because they want us to pay the true cost of carbon emissions maybe are all ready driving a previous era Tesla. And then others want a lower gas price. There's only one kind of Republican and they want lower gas prices. There is an opportunity for Republicans to split the Democrats amongst themselves and have a coalition. Democrats will have to sell what the $5 billion will do to get rid of our freeway lockdowns and to build more transit and grower infrastructure. >> It is a big year ahead. We've been speaking to the political department chair from UC San Diego.

Former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose filed paperwork Friday to run for California governor, making him the third Republican hoping to replace Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

"I'm running to rebuild the California dream, and I'm prepared to work with anybody to do that," Ose said.

Ose said he will provide more details on his campaign platform when he makes a formal announcement in the coming weeks.

Ose, 62, represented the Sacramento area in Congress from 1999 to 2005 and unsuccessfully challenged Democratic U.S. Rep. Ami Bera in 2014.

He was widely viewed as a moderate while serving in Congress. He later emerged as a strong backer of President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, serving as a delegate at the Republican National Convention.

He is jumping in to a field so far dominated by Democrats. The two candidates that win the most votes in the June primary will go on to the November general election, regardless of party.

In the 2016 U.S. Senate race, Republicans were shut out of the race, but turnout isn't likely to be as high in a midterm contest. Republicans are hoping an initiative to repeal a new gas tax increase will drive GOP voters to the polls.

The other Republicans in the race are businessman John Cox of San Diego and Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach. Democrats running are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, State Treasurer John Chiang and former state schools superintendent Delaine Easton.

Beyond politics, Ose is a wealthy developer who helps run a Sacramento park. He told the Sacramento Bee that leaders are failing Californians on everything from taxes and crime to infrastructure and education.

Also Friday, Cox announced he's spending nearly $80,000 for three weeks of radio advertisements. In the ad, he accuses Brown and Newsom of "socking it to middle-class taxpayers and small-business owners" and pledges to halt a newly enacted policy that adds protections for immigrants living in the country illegally.