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How Atkins, Block Race Affects San Diego Politics

How Atkins, Block Race Affects San Diego Politics
How Atkins, Block Race Affects San Diego Politics
How Atkins, Block Race Affects San Diego Politics GUESTS: Thad Kousser, political science professor, UC San Diego Carl Luna, political science professor, Mesa College

Just last week on the show, state assembly speaker Tony Adkins said that she was and decided against running against a senator in 2016, over the weekend she became sure that she is. Now the prospect of two Democrats battling over a securely Democrat state Senate seat a battle that could extend all the way up to the November election is troubling the Democratic establishment. It is a shocking turn of events for the Sacramento legislature were Senate incumbents are really defeated by something members. And virtually never by members of their own party. Talking about this unusual race, professor about me for call late. -- College. Welcome back. Now Karl caught this announcement by Toni Atkins has caused quite a stir. What is the advantage for her in running against Marty block seat. The only major advantage is if she wins. If she wins, she will be a sitting State Sen. That will give her a power of eight years in the state Senate and her career continues, if she loses at this point she has a lot on the line, shall we with -- she will be seen as a spoiler for the party, not a good soldier. That is Marty block, a particularly vulnerable candidate. No, he is not. But he is running against the speaker that has made a name for herself, and she is also someone who will bring tremendous fund-raising advantages that the speaker does because they have so much institutional influence in San Diego. There will be many mailers sent in the campaign against them. Usually, we expect in a contested race, that one side will be supporting one kind of legislation and the other side will be supporting another kind of legislation. When it comes out a policy caught Karl, can you see a difference between the two. There is not a huge difference between their voting records. They support the same things, usually when you have someone running such as from their own party challenging incumbent. It usually comes from the right or the left. This is more of an example of ambition and politics play now more than real ideology. This is a script that we've seen played by many different actors in recent years in California cop because of some political reforms that we a pass. Terms limits and redistricting bring the same party and from the same ideological space and the same area and contest because they can't run for reelection may have to move up or out. We saw the same thing with redistricting, a longtime incumbents from the same part of the wing of the Democratic Party, same part of the Los Angeles ran across -- against each other spend millions of dollars to fight over nothing. So he has nowhere else to go. There is a very high profile seat is unfilled by Democrat, the race for mayor. The local party has not been able to round up anyone to run for mayor. Tony Adkins would rather take on Marty, and is vulnerable on many fronts call represents a loss of vision for the party, the adult should of gone together and said book, Tony Adkins you run for mayor even if you lose you going to think at -- tank for a few years and then you get the seats. Republicans have to be very happy at this outcome. And the Democratic Party in San Diego or the state strong enough to be able to tell someone as powerful as the speaker of the assembly something like that. American parties don't act like that. They aren't hierarchical organizations, were there is one coach giving directions. Their collective of individuals who all want to score the touchdown. They do not have the authority to command and control their members, and we probably don't want them to have that authority that would not be democracy. That would be a system that without we left behind half-century ago. Sometimes a little smoke does add to the atmosphere have to say. I remember when Doug Manchester, the local Republicans together and said you will not fight against each other again, at the end of the day the money in the interest of the party decide what they want to some degree, that should of been implement show with Tony Adkins. She was left in the unfortunate position of of everyone around her, and then ran into the wall with the Democrats were to spend a lot of money on the seats were San Diego is not going to be contested, and that doesn't do well for a lot of constituencies in the city of San Diego. Let me ask you the point that Karl brought up, that the Republican Kevin Fulcher is running unopposed. What are some of the things that that situation tells us. I think that a shocking in a city that has a Democratic majority in the city Council right now. I think it tells us that you have an incumbent that has done and has had enough time to make enough enemies are making up mistakes, and is pulling much better than the other candidates. There are many who do not have that type of profile within San Diego. He also has a large fund-raising advantage, and I think the Tony Adkins was the only candidate that could compete with them. I think it's significant, not about the Democrats lack of leadership ability, but how strongly this mayor is running. Is the leadership question? I disagree with that, you look at the local leadership of the party con the races that have been lost, and the activists that have tried to make their mayorship. They ended up with a congressman coming in from out of town to run, to the didn't have a been to that point. Now you have a candidate who has done a good job under his watch, we been treading water and there is no vision to the offer. Todd could've been a contender that then he had administrative by Sherry later, and she got elected with Republican votes. And there is no major repercussion in the party for that. Someone has to be the adult in the Democratic Party to say where -- winning is your first step. And then we can accomplish what we want to do. For a blue town we are shining off the red. When you look at the state Democratic Party a lot of people are afraid of this particular confrontation between the two could lead between a conflict between Democrats and the assembly and Democrats in the Senate. There is always this inner mural fighting, that comes up especially toward the end of the session were each house plays games with each other. At the end of the day they sharing of goals in common that if they do work together quite well. If Toni Akin's win this race, show make up at the current Senate pro tem caught and will spend millions against her, they will be fighting over the course of the next year but if they when, she will have another alliance. The course to be very bumpy. I know both of the candidates, I've known them both. They are really good people, they are too good Democrats ripping each other apart is bad for the brand. And that is one of those things, the discussion that was not had. If some Democrats want to stand up and say we can find a good candidate for mayor, but I do not see a good long-term option. The Republicans are trying to court the Hispanic vote, suffering their stance on immigration, if the Democrats are smart they'll take it vantage of this. What you think about that. During the convention over the weekend, they did seem to soften the stance on immigration. And they said that it was a reaction to some of the big headlines been made by the national Republicans in their primaries. And their debates. What kind of changes do they need to prove , and why. It is a party that is set in their play -- platform, that it they are saying that they can have flexibility in this issue. Things like same-sex marriage, amnesty, it's a important first step. These are the activists of the tiered someone like Tim Donnelly who was the former Minutemen who is the leading candidate for the Republican nominee. This is a first step that the average voter won't notice, and tell and nominee is high profile that does take a softer step. We're not seen that from the national Republicans yet, and we have not seen that for a California Republicans as well. Carl, you mention the fact that County supervisor Dianne Jacob is facing a challenge within her own party. You say that is different than the Adkins block cumbersome -- controversy. You could accuse -- you cannot accuse them of not representing the Democratic Party. This is a big deal in the political world, what if anything is a to the average San Diego. How does this potentially affect our political future. Not much at all. It will just play musical chairs with who is in office. But that is what we of been getting time and time again since we voted for term limits. What is interested, these are the last people running over -- under the old term limits. We will see less physical chairs in the future. I know is that Tony Adkins as someone with state office potential, I thing going for the Senate seat is going to hurt that ability. The minute she gets in their way sore feelings in the state party, and San Diego loses someone can have a major statewide voice. Even the governor's voice down the pipe. I do not know why every trade that for the state senators, Marty block is at the end of his career, he is one that could possibly run for mayor, but San Diego does not get a good race for mayor and we lose upper 10 shall -- a potential high-profile person. Thank you, both.

The race between California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and state Sen. Marty Block may have local and statewide implications.

Both Democrats are battling for Block’s current Senate seat, which represents the 39th District in San Diego.

Thad Kousser, political science professor at UC San Diego, said the race will suck up a lot of money in San Diego County.


Atkins has raised more than $600,000 for a senate race, while Block has about $80,000, according to the Associated Press.

But, it could also hurt the local Democratic Party.

"Here's the real sadness," Carl Luna, political science professor at San Diego Mesa College, told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday. "They are really good people. We're going to have good Democrats ripping each other apart. It's bad for the brand."

Luna said Atkins will only strengthen her reputation among Democrats if she wins.

"The only major advantage is if she wins," Luna said. "If she loses, she's got a lot on the line. She will be seen as a spoiler for the party so it's quite a gamble."


Luna and Kousser also said the race says a lot about local politics. Atkins was seen as a potential challenger to Mayor Kevin Faulconer who is currently running unopposed.

"I think that's shocking in a city that leans blue," Kousser said.