Nate Jackson / May 14, 2020

Special Elections and Shifting Political Winds

How much November hope should Trump see in GOP wins in California and Wisconsin?

Caveat emptor: Don’t make the mainstream media’s usual mistake of reading too much into a special election. But the GOP House wins in two special elections Tuesday do matter.

“Wisconsin state senator Tom Tiffany was able to maintain the GOP’s control over the state’s conservative-leaning 7th district left vacant by Rep. Sean Duffy,” Fox News reports. Given that the GOP took control of that district in 2010, that’s not especially noteworthy. What really matters is the other race.

“Mike Garcia managed to flip California’s 25th District, becoming the first Republican to do that in the state since 1998,” Fox adds. “Garcia, a former Navy combat pilot, was declared the winner on Wednesday after his Democratic challenger, state assemblywoman Christy Smith, conceded the race. The congressional seat was previously held by Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned last year.”

If the name Katie Hill doesn’t ring a bell, she’s the disgraced Democrat who resigned amidst a sordid bisexual affair last year. Her district, er, swung back the other way, as well.

That California district long had been Republican, but Hill won it in the 2018 Democrat wave. Losing it again after she failed so miserably isn’t terribly surprising. What makes it significant is that, as Fox News noted, Democrats have only gained California districts — at least over the last two decades.

Moreover, The Washington Free Beacon adds that Garcia will be “the only House Republican that represents a district where Hillary Clinton took more than 50 percent of the vote in 2016, an encouraging sign for the GOP with November just months away.”

That said, President Donald Trump is deeply unpopular in the district and California generally. But even that leads us to more encouraging news: CNN buried its own polling showing that Trump leads Joe Biden by healthy margins in 15 battleground states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. He won just seven of those states in 2016.

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