OK

DARTH VADER:  My apprentice, you have succeeded in ways even the Emperor could have not foreseen.
DARTH ISSA:  Thank you for the compliments Lord Vader.  I knew the IRS investigation was going to help my 2014 re-election campaign financially.
Darrell Issa's reputation has certainly been shot as a result of the IRS "scandal" investigation but don't underestimate his ability to maximize the fundraising machine that keeps him elected every single two years.

Thanks to the IRS investigation, according to the USA Today, Issa has already received a huge spike in campaign contributions to his campaign.

http://www.usatoday.com/...

WASHINGTON — Scandal has been good for Rep. Darrell Issa.

The House Oversight Committee chairman, leading investigations into the deaths of Americans in Benghazi and the IRS' scrutiny of Tea Party groups, just had his biggest campaign fundraising haul since he entered Congress in 2001.

Donors endorsed the California Republican's aggressive probes with their checkbooks, pushing the Issa campaign's total receipts to $737,109 from April 1 through June 30 — up from $291,527 during the first three months of the year. The IRS scandal broke May 10 when an IRS official apologized for improperly imposing additional scrutiny on Tea Party and other conservative groups.

According to a Yale University professor, the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee is not typically been a focal point for which fundraising has occurred as a result:
Eleanor Neff Powell, a Yale University professor who studies congressional fundraising, said Issa's haul is surprising because the Oversight Committee — which rarely writes laws — hasn't historically been considered a cash cow. Having the Oversight Committee chairman as a prodigious fundraiser could further polarize Congress by giving the party in power an incentive to be even more aggressive, she said.

"It's always helped play an investigatory role, and particularly with Republicans controlling Congress and a Democratic president in his second term, it's ripe for high-profile, partisan investigations," she said.

But for certain people, it appears to mean a lot for Darrell Issa to continue his IRS investigation even though none of his efforts are making any progress nor meriting the real truth:
"I want to see him survive and get to the truth on Benghazi, and I want to see the IRS destroyed," said George Brandon, a former aircraft manufacturing engineer from Trout Lake, Wash., who donated $250 to Issa on June 3. Brandon said it was his first donation.

Brandon, who described himself as a Tea Party activist, called the IRS a "parasitical agency" and praised Issa for "doing what he can against the horrific corruption into which this country has fallen."

Attention to George Brandon:  Where were you when President Bush was escalating the Iraq War and Darrell Issa did nothing to investigate it?

Oh I see.  Thousands of dead Americans over a stupid war isn't as severe as what the IRS has done to George Brandon's base.  Got it!

Then there's Robert Spuhler, a retired community college professor, who believes Issa's committee is the last hope for any transparency in government:

Robert Spuhler, a retired community college president from Glenwood Springs, Colo., said Issa's committee is "the only chance" the country has to get to the bottom of what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed last September.

Spuhler gave $500 to Issa's campaign May 30.

"I contributed not so much because of him, but what the committee is working on," he said. "When you do things like that, you're going to be targeted by the other party."

Wow.  Mr. Spuhler actually contributed a single donation of $500 and says it's not Issa but the committee's investigations into the Benghazi and IRS "scandals" which are already proving to be a waste of taxpayer money if you look at the evidence objectively.

And didn't Mr. Spuhler realize that the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee also found that liberal and progressive groups were being targeted as well?

Oh right.  Mr. Spuhler's more concerned on what happens to Tea Party groups than what happens to the country.  I get it.  Perhaps Mr. Spuhler just wasted $500 he could have otherwise saved for a nice early plane ticket to Hawaii or even contributed to one of his mutual funds or IRAs.  SERIOUSLY, was it necessary to spend $500?  Does Spuhler want to become like the Koch Brothers?

But point being is, what good are these donations going to do for the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee?  The donations are going to Darrell Issa's campaign war chest but there's not much they are going to do that will make the IRS investigation any more or less truthful.

And what if the IRS investigation FINALLY ends and Issa's efforts have still brought him no evidence there was a political agenda behind the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups?  Perhaps then Mr. Brandon and Mr. Spuhler just got caught up in the hype of something that is much ado about nothing, like average ill-informed customers get suckered in to buying products from annoying infomercials on useless products?

USA Today says though, regardless, Issa will likely not face a tough re-election campaign in 2014:

Issa isn't likely to face a tough campaign battle in 2014. Last year, in a newly drawn district, he won re-election to a seventh term by more than 16 percentage points.
USA Today may be correct if say it looks at the 2012 CA-49 election results as a basis for what 2014 may look like for Darrell Issa's re-election.

However, as the key Kossack who covered 2012 Democratic challenger Jerry Tetalman's campaign, not to mention having the opportunity to interview Tetalman on phone before, I can tell you that from what I know about the trends in the CA-49 district that Issa represents and information on the ground, USA Today's assessment is premature at this point.

1)  Darrell Issa did NOT campaign even once during 2012 while Jerry Tetalman did and like Paul Ryan refused to debate Rob Zerban, Issa refused to debate Tetalman.  If you have someone like Tetalman who, like Zerban, campaigned as months prior to the beginning of 2012 but after repeated requests to Issa could not debate him, that indicates that either Issa really doesn't do much outreach to his constituents.

2)  The CA-49 district is not as red as it used to be.  This isn't to say it's a toss-up or a lean Democrat (not even close to those categories at this point) but it's not deep red either.  Due to redistricting, more Democratic and Decline-to-State (can be considered Independent voter registration) numbers increased.  Furthermore, San Diego County in 2012 experienced a more competitive voter registration among Democrats vs. Republicans.  A good chunk of California's 49th District represents the Northern Coastal areas of San Diego, plus a small portion of Orange County.  You could argue that, yes, the CA-49 district is still very conservative but guess what:  San Diego County has been traditionally conservative as well.

      Observe the following bit of insight on San Diego voter registration in 2012:  

http://www.cbs8.com/...

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Republicans edged ahead of Democrats in voter registration in San Diego County for the first time in two years, according to a report released Tuesday by the Registrar of Voters office.

Of the 1.46 million registered voters in the county, 510,792 are affiliated with the GOP and 510,692 are with the Democratic Party, a difference of 100. Both parties are at 35 percent, according to the county registration report, which tabulated figures through Friday.

The last report in which the Republicans had a county registration advantage was in September 2010.

Note that when this story was reported, it also mentions the last report in which the Republicans had a county registration advantage was in September 2010.

Also here's this part in the article to note circa 9/4/12:

The Democrats still have a sizable statistical advantage within the city of San Diego as of the end of July, according to records kept by the city clerk's office.

Of nearly 632,000 registered voters, 40 percent are Democrats and 28 percent belong to the GOP. Another 27 percent are declined-to-state.

Then this came in from the San Diego Union Tribute a month later:

http://www.utsandiego.com/...

San Diego County is blue again.

A month after Republicans touted an ever-so-slender lead in registered voters, local Democrats have once again resumed the distinction.

County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler released a report last week showing that, as of Sept. 30, Democrats had taken the lead by 3,881 voters. Of the county’s 1.48 million registered voters, 518,463 were Democrats and 514,582 were Republicans.

Democrats noted the registration shift over the last month — when Republicans clung to an advantage of 100 voters — was among the largest swings between the political parties since 2008.

Arguably, the numbers have fluctuated from time to time from either Democratic to Republican territory and yes, 2012 was also the year which President Barack Obama ran for re-election and won but if these voter registration numbers hold or at least go more in favor towards the Democratic Party, it appears that no longer is San Diego County as conservative as it used to be, at least by assessing the 2012 voter registration results.  

Then here's this bit of information on CA-49 voter registration as of 2/10/13 per the California Secretary of State office:

http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/...

So with the CA-49 voter registration holding, the following is evident:

Democratic voter registrations:  106,521 representing 29% of the total votes in the district

Republican voter registrations:  152,054 representing 41.3% of the total votes in the district

So as we can see here, Republican voter registration outnumbers Democratic voter registration by 45,533 votes (or 12.3%).  Sounds alarming, right?

But wait, what about the Independent or Decline-to-State voters?  Here are the following stats:

Decline-to-State/Independent:  90,015 representing 24.5% of the votes in the district.  

These 90,015 non-party affiliated voters in the CA-49 district may be disillusioned by political parties or may just prefer to be Independent and make their own judgments.  But let's assume for the sake of the argument that these Decline-to-State/Independent voters are more persuaded by arguments on the Democratic Party's side:

Democratic voter registration + Decline-to-State Voter Registration
=106,521 + 90,015 Leaning towards Democrats
=196,536 voters for Democratic Party vs. 152,054 voters for the Republican Party.

This means then if a credible 2014 Democratic challenger happens to have the ability to tap into these numbers, both Democratic and Decline-to-State, then the eventual November 2014 voting rally could mean 53% in his favor vs. 41% for Darrell Issa.

I know, some of you think this hypothetical is far-fetched.  But look at these numbers:

http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/...

In covering the Jerry Tetalman 2012 campaign, I can point out to you he got no help from any grassroots group outside of San Diego County, no help from the DNC, no help from the DCCC, no help from even Democracy for America of all organizations.  However, he raised $131,168 and spent $127,720 with lots of grassroots campaigning compared to Darrell Issa who raised $2,478,710 and spent $1,115,222 but did little to no campaigning:

http://www.opencongress.org/...

So going back to USA Today's argument, how can Issa be assured of re-election in 2014 if the following hypothetical situations happen?

1)  A Democratic challenger to Darrell Issa in 2014 emerges.
2)  The Democratic challenger campaigns many months in advance prior to November 2014 and does so intensely.
3)  The challenger receives more support not just from within the CA-49 district and surrounding regions but also all sorts of progressive and liberal groups in the U.S.
4)  The challenger gets DCCC support not just in promoting him or her but also in contributions.
5)  The Democratic challenger and Darrell Issa actually debate, whether once or more than once.
6)  Consistent GOTV and voter registration drives by Democrats and groups alike in the CA-49 district go on for months before November 2014.

And one last point of reference:  Here's a comparative analysis of some GOP-occupied districts with ratings indicating a Republican advantage per Cook Political Report:

http://cookpolitical.com/...

CA-49 (Represented by Darrell Issa):  R+5
WI-01 (Represented by Paul Ryan):  R+3
OH-08 (Represented by John Boehner):  R+14
MN-06 (Represented by Michelle Bachmann):  R+8
Assuming the Cook Report is accurate (and from my understanding it usually tends to be), CA-49 and WI-01 are very close to applicable Republican territory but no one argues anymore that the WI-01 district is deep red, do they?  What reason therefore should CA-49 be considered deep red if it's only +2 higher in Republican advantage than WI-01?

So now ask yourselves:  What do these 2013-to-date influx of campaign contributions REALLY meaning for Darrell Issa?

Yet more cash to fill his coffin?

OR

Cash being donated for nothing?

As usual, keep the San Diego County Democratic Party busy since they're the most local and active Democratic Party nearby Darrell Issa's area of residence (not to mention his local office).

Make sure you mark down this information and pass it on to others for firing up the base in California's 49th Congressional District if you want to target Issa for re-election and get voter registration drives going:

San Diego County Democratic Party Website:  http://www.sddemocrats.org/
Address:  8340 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Suite 10 San Diego, CA 92111
Phone:  (858) 277-3367
Fax:    (858) 571-0275
E-mail:  info@sddemocrats.org
Contact Form:  http://www.sddemocrats.org/....

While you're at it, you might as well make a visit or mount a protest in front of Darrell Issa's Vista, CA office at the following address:

1800 Thibodo Rd
Vista, CA 92081

Oh and don't forget, the DCCC could use some action as well:  (202) 863-1500

Originally posted to pipsorcle on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

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