You're Viewing the Archives
Return to IVN's Frontpage

Republican Showdown: Tom McClintock's Seat Not Safe for the First Time

by Nancy Phung, published

The partisan tides are clearly beginning to shift in California's 4th Congressional District, a trend that is more visible under the state's nonpartisan, top-two open primary.

No Party Preference candidate Jeffrey Gerlach ran in the 2014 primary election with approximately one percent of the money incumbent U.S. Representative Tom McClintock (R) raised and nearly garnered enough support to secure the second spot in the general election. He lost out to National Guard Major Art Moore, also a Republican, by just 1.3 percent in a district that is considered a Republican stronghold.

In his past three terms, McClintock has not had to worry much about electoral competition. The Democrats have never had a chance in either the old or newly-drawn District 4.

However, a once safe seat for McClintock is competitive as a result of the top-two primary system. McClintock has to face Moore in the general election, meaning that voters outside the Republican Party will end up deciding the race.

Moore believes he is the type of Republican that speaks directly to the purpose of the new primary system:

accountable representation.

An upset win is not entirely out of his grasp, either.

Gerlach garnered 21 percent of the vote during the primary election while Moore received just under 23 percent. If Moore can effectively show voters that he is willing to represent not only Republicans in the district, but all voters, he may be able to combine existing Republican support with non-Republican votes and take the congressional seat.

Read more here:

McClintock, whose political career dates back to 1982, is considered a smart politician by his supporters. He knows the issues and knows what his constituents care about. He is also known to be methodical in his ability to sway his audience.

However, before the implementation of the top-two primary system, McClintock only needed to sway voters who were more likely to vote for him anyway. He didn't have to expand his message to a broader segment of the electorate. Compared to the 2012 primary results -- the first election under the new primary system -- McClintock dropped 5 percentage points in the 2014 primary.

Moore has admitted that he would not have entered the race under the old primary system. McClintock has the party base locked up, as well as the power of incumbency.

But now that Moore has made it into the general election, the race is no longer about securing the Republican vote. In order to win, both men will have to convince non-GOP voters that they will be accountable to the electorate as a whole, and not just party voters.


Race Profile

Primary Election Results:

1)            (i) Tom McClintock (GOP)             66,117                   55.9%

2)            Art Moore (GOP)                           26,861                   22.7%

3)            Jeffrey Gerlach (NPP)                   23,324                   21.4%

The 4th district is based in east central California and includes Lake Tahoe, Roseville, and Yosemite National Park. The Central Valley and foothills is labeled as conservative. Republican Tom McClintock, who has represented the 4th district since 2009, is running for reelection. 116,302 of 408,162 registered voters voted in this 2014 Primary, district 4 had a 28.4% turn out.

CD4 graph


CD4 primaryCD4 general

 Imaged results provided by Around The Capitol.


Tom McClintock (Republican): United States Representative for California's 4th Congressional District (since 2009)


of Tom McClintock

rep-tom-mcclintock Photo taken from the official Facebook Page

A native of Thousand Oaks, McClintock, 57, is the three-term incumbent representing California's 4th Congressional District. McClintock's political career began in 1982 when he was elected to the State Assembly in District 36.

He has experience running in 17 elections -- the current election being his eighteenth. While he has been a member of the California Assembly and the state Senate, he unsuccessfully ran for controller (1994, 2002), lieutenant governor (2006), and governor (2003).

McClintock is known as a tea party congressman, a title he willingly accepts. However, he is now promoting bipartisanship and “policies that work” in his 2014 re-election campaign. His campaign has received almost 90 percent of his itemized contributions from outside this district (Carmel, Malibu, and Santa Barbara).

Political Highlights: 

  • Ran for California's 36th State Assembly seat in 1982 at the age of 26 after redistricting and defeated Democrat Harriet Kosmo Henson, 56–44.
  • Elected to the U.S. House in 2008 (3rd term).
  • Ventura County Republican Central Committee chairman, 1979-81; Calif. Assembly, 1982-92; Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1992; Republican nominee for Calif. controller, 1994; Calif. Assembly, 1996-00; Calif. Senate, 2000-2008; Republican nominee for Calif. controller, 2002; candidate for governor (recall election), 2003; Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, 2006; U.S. House, 2009-present. Committee Assignments: Budget, Natural Resources (Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, and Water and Power).
  • Authored the law for lethal injection use in California. He also opposed tax increases and supported spending cuts. He was a strong proponent of abolishing the car tax.

Committee Membership:

  • House Committee on Natural Resources -- chairman
    • Subcommittee on Water and Power
    • Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation
    • Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs
  • House Committee on the Budget

Leadership & Ideology Score: McClintock is a far-right Republican, according to GovTrack's analysis of bill sponsorship. McClintock’s bills have had a total of 129 cosponsors in the 113th Congress.

CD4 leadership

Noted Endorsements:

  • California Republican Party
  • National Federation of Independent Business PAC
  • FreedomWorks PAC
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association PAC
  • National Federation of Independent Business's Save America's Free Enterprise Trust


Arthur "Art" Moore (Republican): Businessman/Military Officer

for Art Moore.

ary Photo from the official campaign website

Moore has labeled himself a conservative and falls into the ideological label on most issues, like Obamacare. However, he is also “a bit more libertarian” than McClintock on social issues like gay marriage and abortion.

In challenging the incumbent, Moore said:

“You’ve got to sit down and negotiate with those you don’t agree with. [McClintock] has a perfect conservative voting record, but what has he accomplished? He voted to shut down the federal government –- to close Yosemite –- which really hurt this district. I’m in favor of building coalitions and seeing if we can make some progress on the issues.”

Moore hopes to establish conservative priorities that shape agendas and craft effective legislation. He claims to veer from partisan gridlock that compromises the needs of the district. Yet, he added that he will not let it get in the way of implementing conservative solutions to resolve the nation's biggest challenges.

Still, Moore makes it clear that he will listen to all constituents, regardless of party affiliation.

Moore’s focus is on federal health care reform, and the need for decisions that go beyond the promises of Medicare and Social Security. His solution is to “shore up the finances of the two systems so those who are entering the workforce now will have these programs available to them when they retire as well.”

Profile Highlights:

  • Attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
  • Graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a field of study in Environmental Engineering.
  • Commissioned as an infantry officer.
  • Fourteen years of active duty and National Guard service, including thirty months deployed overseas.
  • Currently a Major in the Army National Guard.

Campaign Themes:

  • The Second Amendment is a fundamental right that protects the liberties of all Americans.
  • Strongly opposes Obamacare. It needs to be repealed and replaced.
  • Medicare and Social Security are part of the contract we have made with workers throughout the country, to provide health care and a base income in their retirement years.

Noted Endorsements:

  • Fresno Bee
  • George Radanovich -- Congress (Ret.)
  • Nate Beason -- Nevada County Supervisor (chair of RCRC)
  • Jim Holmes -- Placer County Supervisor
  • Jennifer Montgomery -- Placer County Supervisor
  • Bruce Kranz -- Placer County Supervisor (Ret.)


About the Author