Scott Peters is preparing to defend his position from Republican challenger Carl Demaio. Many will recognize Demaio as the candidate who lost the San Diego mayoral election to Bob Filner just over a year ago.
A first-term congressman, Peters won the 2012 election by appealing to California’s growing independent voter population. His politically moderate approach was crucial in California’s changing political climate. This November, we can expect similar strategies from both parties.
Also in 2010, the U.S. Census determined that the 52nd district was to be redrawn and moved west to account for population growth before the next election cycle. These changes greatly altered the political environment in the San Diego-based district. In 2012, Scott Peters narrowly defeated Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray in a race that ended a week after the polls closed. Peters eked out a 51.2 percent victory, becoming the first Democratic representative for the district in over a decade. Since being elected, Peters has maintained a nonpartisan approach, which has been criticized by members of his own party. He has worked tirelessly to reduce partisan gridlock and was even named the fourth most independent Democrat in the House by the National Journal. Unfortunately, he is also a member of an unpopular Congress. A recent poll found that 60 percent of Americans would support firing every member of Congress(NBC/WSJ poll), which may hurt Peters in the 2014 election. Carl Demaio is also a self-claimed moderate. Demaio is pro-choice, openly gay, and has supported bipartisan solutions in the San Diego City Council, making him a worthy rival in a battle for independent voters. The 52nd district election may have huge implications, not just for Californians, but for the rest of the nation as well. California has demonstrated that nonpartisan primaries often result in more competitive elections. For the rising number of independents who are ready to escape the two-party system, this could be a refreshing solution.
Photo Credit: Sam Hodgson / Voice of San Diego