Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) failed to receive the endorsement of his Democratic Party for reelection in the 7th congressional district this weekend after angering liberal activists over his voting record.
Although he will not face any challenge within his own party, the two-term congressman will now need to wait until the state party convention in February to receive the endorsement of his political party.
“I think Congressman Bera needs to do some soul-searching as to wether he’s a real Democrat, or not,” Robert Longer, who is the political and legislative director for the union Communications Workers for America union Local 9421 told the Sacramento Bee at a meeting in Sacramento where Bera spoke. “If he believes in the district, he will connect with the voters, he will connect with the folks that got him into office. Otherwise, he will have to find another job.”
Bera failed to secure the required 70 percent vote, receiving just 61 percent in his favor and 39 percent opposed to endorsing him.
His constituents were angered by his decision to support President Barack Obama’s negotiating authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Bera reportedly sought to clarify that although he supports the president’s position, he will take a formal position on the TPP by this spring.
Obama’s TPP bill has been rejected by big labor as well as some conservatives.
Bera was also criticized for supporting a GOP bill in Congress that would prevent refugees from Syria and Iraq from entering the U.S. unless the heads of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the director of National Intelligence certify that the refugees would not endanger U.S. citizens and America’s national security. Bera was among eight Democrats to break with his party and vote in favor of this bill.
Bera’s challenge from left-wing activists in his party is reminiscent of what the Los Angeles Times suggests is “an inland California flavor to what is a national trend this year: grassroots activists bucking the establishment.”
During the 2013 elections, Republican Elizabeth Emken reportedly said “You better believe Ami Bera and the Democrat establishment are scared to face me in this race.”
Emken wound up losing in the Golden State’s “jungle primary,” along with fellow Republican Igor Berman and Libertarian Douglas Tuma. Bera faced off against Republican Douglas Ose in the November election and won. He is reportedly confident that he will receive his party’s nod during the state Democratic convention next month.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.