Not one of five Democrats running for outgoing Republican congressman Darrell Issa’s seat would commit on Tuesday night to support current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for Speaker of the House should Democrats return to power in 2019.
During a five-way Tuesday night debate in the 49th congressional district race, Doug Applegate, who challenged Issa in 2016, was a definitive “no” when asked whether he would support Pelosi, according to the Los Angeles Times. Applegate elaborated, “We can do better. We need to move in a different direction.”
The other four — Mike Levin, Sara Jacobs, Paul Kerr, and Christina Prejean — spoke favorably of Pelosi, but dodged any commitment to support her return to the speakership. Prajean espoused nondescript support for a “most qualified” candidate, according to the Times. Levin favored a progressive “champion.”
Applegate lost to incumbent Issa in 2016 by a slim margin of less than one percent. Issa announced in early January that he would not seek re-election in 2018. Since then, he race has been inundated with candidates grasping for the seat, a number up to around 12 with weeks still left before the filing deadline.
Applegate, Kerr and Prejean are all military veterans and touted that experience during Tuesday’s debate. The district encompasses Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and a considerable military population.
While Applegate ran for the seat with Democratic support in 2016, Levin was the frontrunner at a recent Democrat delegate pre-endorsement vote at the California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego, according to the Times. Levin won 57 percent, but not enough to secure the coveted automatic endorsement. There will be another vote this coming weekend.
A mid-February San Diego Union-Tribune/10News poll conducted by SurveyUSA found that 27 percent of 510 respondents remained undecided which of twelve CA-49 congressional district candidates to support from any party — larger than the result for any individual candidate. Californians will vote in a top-two primary election in June that will determine who will face off in the general.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana