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Thursday, September 19, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

America needs a speaker of the House from California. No, not one from the “People’s Republic of San Francisco.” We need one from Bakersfield, California.

And here is the thing that may shock readers all across America: Voters in California can make that happen in 2020.


The reason is simple: Nearly one out of every five Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives come from the home state of both Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy. Currently, a mere seven seats out of 53 seats in California are held by Republicans. Prior to the 2018 elections, there were 14 Republican members of Congress from the state.

That means that there is a tremendous opportunity to get back those seats lost in the last election. And there are plenty of great candidates.

One of them is Young Kim. Last November, she was set to be the first Korean-American woman to serve in Congress. On Election Night, she had a 3,900-vote lead. Then her opponent, who won a $266 million lottery in 2010, hit the jackpot again as the results of ballot-harvesting surged him to victory nearly two weeks after the election with 50.8 percent of the vote.

Mrs. Kim is running again in 2020. With her business background, she is an excellent candidate who has a strong grassroots organization.

Michelle Steele is another outstanding Asian-American Republican who can win back a House seat. She is an Orange County supervisor and a champion for hard-working taxpayers. And she can win back the 48th Congressional District.

Peggy Huang is a member of the Yorba Linda Council and a former state prosecutor. She faces a primary — and the winner will face first-term Rep. Katie Porter who is called a “misfit” for her 45th Congressional District.

Republicans have a decent shot against Rep. T.J. Cox, who moved into the 21st District to run and won by less than 1,000 votes in 2018. National Republicans are pushing for Mr. Cox to answer where he stands on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s so-called Green New Deal.

Talking points originally put out by Miss Ocasio-Cortez’s team said that they hoped to phase out airplanes and farting cows over the next decade. That is a threat to the dairy industry in Mr. Cox’s district, where farmers are purchasing methane digesters to deal with the heavy hand of state government and their air quality regulations.

Former Rep. David Valadao is in an excellent position to reclaim the 21st district for the GOP. He knows the area well and is going to win.

Republicans have to hold all seven of their current districts — including one open seat. Rep. Paul Cook announced his retirement this week. But he did not have a Democrat in the general election in 2018. President Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 8th Congressional District by 15 points in 2016.

There are plenty of House races across the country that are important and that will be critical for Republicans to regain the majority after the 2020 elections. Having said that, California is a key part of that plan.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to the delegates at the California Republican Party Convention. “Train. Campaign. Win.” was the theme of the gathering.

To counter the aggressive tactics of the left, Republicans have to recruit grassroots leaders and train them well. They, in turn, must train even more grassroots volunteers at every level.

Then, they have to use both high-tech strategies to campaign as well as traditional personal contact with voters. Armies of grassroots activists must march into each of the competitive House districts.

My charge to the delegates was to take all of their passion and energy for the president and focus it on the winnable House races. While California will not likely go Republican for president in 2020, voters in the Golden State can help the president by electing more House Republicans.

I was thinking about this during a trip to the Reagan Ranch outside of Santa Barbara this past week. Pundits often write off California because of the statewide liberal bias, but Republicans really can make a difference in the congressional races.

Think of all the good President Ronald Reagan was able to get done with a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate and a Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. Imagine how much more he could have accomplished had his party held majorities in both chambers.

Looking ahead, Republican majorities working with a Republican president can achieve even greater things over the next four years. Common-sense California voters can help make that happen in 2020.

Our 40th president and the 33rd governor of California would be proud.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.


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