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Republicans Crowd The Field In 49th Congressional Race

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, attends a Donald Trump rally at the San Diego Con...

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Above: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, attends a Donald Trump rally at the San Diego Convention Center May 27, 2016.

Eight Republicans are now running for the 49th Congressional seat currently held by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. The candidates face a challenge to stand out in a crowded field. They are each fighting to be one of the top two vote-getters in the June primary election and go on to a November run-off.

It can be especially difficult for candidates to distinguish themselves from other members of their party, said political commentator and columnist Ruben Navarrette.

“They’ve had to be very crafty about how they get our attention, how they separate themselves from one another, how they use new media as effectively as possible,” he said. “Not only are they splitting the vote, they are also splitting the money that normally goes into these campaigns. And so because of that, they are going to have to be much more creative in how they reach us.”

Photo caption: A map shows the boundaries of the 49th Congressional District, which includes...

Photo credit: KPBS

A map shows the boundaries of the 49th Congressional District, which includes coastal communities in Orange and San Diego counties, January 2018.

The 49th Congressional District is split between San Diego and Orange counties. Republican candidates from the San Diego area, such as State Assemblyman Rocky Chavez and San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, need to build name recognition in Orange County, while candidate Diane Harkey, a Dana Point resident, needs to reach San Diego voters. But running TV ads in two markets is expensive.

None of the top three Republican candidates, Harkey, Chavez or Gaspar, has started to run TV ads yet. Gaspar, like several other candidates, has a video on her website. Chavez's campaign said he will focus on the grassroots and be walking door to door.

Photo credit: KPBS

The three top Republican candidates running for 49th congressional district,March 20th 2018

The candidates who have started to use TV to gain name recognition are Republican Brian Maryott, a San Juan City councilman, and Democrats Sara Jacobs and Paul Kerr. Jacobs is a former State Department employee and Kerr is a businessman: both have invested personal wealth in their campaigns.

Democrats Mike Levin, an Orange County environmental attorney, and attorney Doug Applegate, a veteran, are focusing on grassroots campaigning and social media.

With such a crowded field, every vote will count because one candidate could win the right to go on to the November election with as little as 20 percent of the vote.

Eight Republicans are now running for the 49th Congressional seat currently held by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, who plans to retire.

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