Bill Bloomfield, a former Republican, is running a mostly self-financed campaign as an independent in the newly formed 33th Congressional District of California. It encompasses affluent beach cities from Malibu to Palos Verdes in Los Angeles, as well as Beverly Hills. The incumbent is liberal Democrat Henry Waxman who has been in Congress since 1975 and been redistricted twice.
“Congress is broken, seriously broken,” is the core of Bloomfield’s campaign message. He is a co-founder of No Labels and has adopted their 12 point plan as his own for the campaign. This platform includes “no budget, no pay” on spending bills, fixing the broken filibuster system, “no pledge but the oath of office,” allowing a bipartisan majority to override a committee chair or member and bring votes to the floor, and more. In short, he favors reforming the dysfunctional political system and ending hyper-partisanship.
The pivotal moment for Bloomfield leaving the Republican Party came when Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.” Bloomfield feels strongly that elected officials should focus first and foremost on the nation and on the problems that face us all and refrain from putting partisan attacks first. Both as a Republican and now as an independent, he says politics needs to be reformed and modernized. Larger coalitions need to be built and will by necessity need to span traditional party lines. He was an early and important supporter of open primaries and redistricting reform in California.
Voter registration in the 33rd District is 44% Democratic, 28% Republican, and 23% no affiliation. California’s new open primary means the top two vote getters regardless of party will face each other in the general election. There are eight candidates in the race. They include three other Democrats, plus challengers from the Green, Libertarian, and Republican parties, none of whom are spending any appreciable amounts of money. The Republican candidate, Christopher David, a former leftist who became a Ron Paul supporter, has not been endorsed by the state party (but has been by his country party) and says many establishment Republicans are supporting Bloomfield.
Waxman is expected to come in first in the primary, so Bloomfield’s main competition is David, who has the potential to draw substantial Republican votes. The best way for Bloomfield to make it to the general election is by appealing to independents. He is refusing PAC money and has spent about $1 million of his own money in the primary.
Campaign spokesperson Kevin Spillane says they are getting out the vote in the traditional way by precinct walking and phone banking and well as by using social media like YouTube. The campaign is “cautiously optimistic“ that Bloomfield will face Waxman in the general election and finds their biggest challenge is getting the attention of Los Angeles Westsiders, who often lead extremely busy lives and may not be focused on the election. Plus, independents tend to vote less than partisan members of the two big parties.
Bloomfield is bringing new ideas into the primary and has been working for years to fix our broken system. He may well bring new ideas to the general election too.