A GOP primary contest in the newly drawn 45th Congressional District sets the four-term incumbent Mr. John Campbell, against John Webb, a former Marine and small-business owner from Rancho Santa Margarita. Heritage Action Scorecard gives Rep. Campbell a grade of 84%, and there are only two members of the California delegation with higher scores, Rep. Royce 91% and Rep. McClintock 86%. This district includes Orange County, a conservative region of California.
Orange County Republican Party Central Committee, the county’s highest official GOP body, met Monday night. One reason the meeting was standing-room only was because part of the agenda was dedicated to endorsing Republican candidates for elections this year. Out of all the endorsements given out this evening, Campbell was the only incumbent facing a challenger – Republican candidate John Webb. In the end, OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh asked the elected central committee members to stand and record their votes, and Campbell fell short of securing the endorsement.
Political writer John Drew was in attendance of this meeting, and wrote this article. Here is an excerpt that provided me with my title.
John Webb is new to politics. He served in the United States Marine Corps and has been a California highway patrolman, and a police officer. In the private sector, John was a corporate executive with State Farm Insurance Company and currently owns and operates a successful insurance brokerage. Locally, John has become a favorite among Tea Party activists.
Rep. Campbell spoke first. He stressed his role in warning about California’s budget crisis and the significant role he played nationally in fighting against earmarks. Campbell looked nervous and a little hyper-active with his edgy, scruffy beard. Next, John Webb spoke. Webb came across as calm, friendly, self-deprecating in his humility and honesty. It quickly became obvious, however, that the most vocal members of the crowd were rooting for Webb to stop Campbell’s effort to win the endorsement of the local Republican party.
Webb, in particular, contrasted his views with Campbell’s saying that he would have voted against TARP and against allowing gays to serve openly in the military. Graciously, Webb said that he did not want to attack Campbell. He merely said that he offered a different “skill set” that was more appropriate to the new conditions faced by the Republican party and warned that voters would lose faith in the Republicans if we did not offer candidates who held tightly to strong conservative ideology.
Campbell sort of made things worse by suggesting that since he had more time to focus on issues as a member of Congress that he was the recipient of better and higher quality information than those in the audience who doubted the wisdom of his decisions.
If I had been an elected central committee member in attendance, then I would not have stood up to endorse someone after they told me how much smarter they are because they are an incumbent. In addition to the TARP vote and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” vote, Campbell also voted for “Cash for Clunkers” and Sarbanes-Oxley. John Campbell has been an outspoken critic of earmarks that only Rep. Jeff Flake surpasses him in this regard. This contest could be where an incumbent may lose in the primary; a reflection that the people want change and are going to look for strong grassroots citizens to represent them. I also believe the GOP primary winner will win in the general in this CD.
Returning to your CD frequently to hold Townhalls and providing great constituent services are factors for House members to ignore at their own peril. If you are interested in supporting John Webb, then please visit his website and donate.