21 DAYS TO PRIMARY DAY | Republican Assemblymember Catharine Baker has a big problem and its name is Donald J. Trump.
In the purple-tinted Contra Costa County and Tri Valley 16th Assembly District, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is a potential drag on her re-election efforts. Although, not necessarily in June, but likely a major problem come November.
Baker told the East Bay Times she will not vote for Trump in November. She also won't vote for Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.
So, she isn't going to vote at all?
Baker ran an excellent campaign in 2014 to become the first Republican legislator to be elected since 2008. But, despite Baker's successful first term, it wouldn't take much for this district to be flipped.
Assemblymember Catharine Baker at a town hall
last February in Orinda.
Its unclear, however, how Trump factors into the equation this June. If the middle-to-upper class enclaves of the district are energized by Trump and rush to the polls, they may view Baker favorably, Like Trump, you could view Baker as an anti-establishment candidate, even though she is an incumbent.
The interesting part of this race is that the reverse could happen in November (As the only primary candidates, under open primary rules, a rematch is assured in the fall). If voters have a choice between Trump and Clinton, the 16th District large total percentage of Democratic and unaffiliated voters may favor Cook-Kallio.
Such a scenario could put Baker in a very unpredictable position. Does she run from the Republican standard bearer and risk losing a portion of the party's roughly one-third of total registered voters? Moreover, sitting out an entire presidential election is not a tenable position for any incumbent to make, especially when all the challenger needs to do is to systematically link you to Trump all the way to November.
Nancy Skinner has already handed Sandre Swanson
a defeat in Alameda by winning the backing of the
city's Democratic club.
Assemblymember Rob Bonta, left, faced a lone
Republican in 2014 and thumped him by 70 points.