Democratic Congressman Henry A Waxman faces a serious challenge in his 2012 reelection bid from independent candidate Bill Bloomfield. Due to recent changes in the California primary process, Rep. Waxman must now face the independent challenger one-on-one. Wealthy former Republican Bloomfield owns a commercial laundry equipment company and has self-financed his run for Congress.
Though Congressman Waxman has served in the House of Representatives since 1975 and enjoys the endorsement of President Barack Obama, Bloomfield’s ability to self-fund has made this a serious race. Politico is reporting that Waxman is raising funds to defend against Bloomfield’s independent challenge. Said Waxman,“In past elections, I spent next to nothing… This time, I’ll be putting forward a real campaign.”
Rep. Waxman’s decision to take Bloomfield’s challenge seriously may stem from recent campaign spending reports. LA Times noted that Bloomfield spent over $1.4 million during the primary process, doubling Waxman’s total. Bloomfield has donated $1.2 million to his own campaign effort so far. Waxman won forty-five percent of the vote in the open primary. The independent Bloomfield took second place with twenty-five percent.
On the campaign trail, Bloomfield’s messaging is focused on reforming the overly-partisan nature of Washington politics. Waxman is touting his support of health care reform, alternative energy subsidies, and tougher environmental regulations.
Bill Bloomfield has never held elected office. He gained recent notoriety working with No Labels, an organization devoted to reducing partisanship in politics. He was also an outspoken supporter of California’s new open primary process which allows voters from any party to vote in one primary where the top two candidates face off in the general election. As a result of this new process, no Republican will run against Waxman this time, making it a two-way race in a year when anti-incumbent sentiment is high due to a struggling economy and an ongoing unemployment crisis. Though Bloomfield at one time self-identified as Republican, he has maintained a visibly independent presence for the past year.
Even though independent candidates often struggle for media attention, Bloomfield has made significant strides, attracting media with his hefty campaign spending and gaining the endorsement of former LA Mayor Richard Riordan. Rep. Henry Waxman typically wins his district with ease, but this year he is having difficulty raising enough money to offset Bloomfield’s personal wealth.