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Juan Vargas challenged for his seat at corporate pig trough

Only Democrat Mike Levin runs in tight Congressional district

Juan Vargas: business-friendly, or Vargas-friendly?
Juan Vargas: business-friendly, or Vargas-friendly?

Juan’s easy path to power

After years of coasting through easy re-election battles, House Democrat Juan Vargas — running in California’s newly redrawn 52nd District and facing a challenger from his party’s left — is unlikely to find much different this campaign season. “Establishment politicians and the rich have reigned over our democracy for too long,” declares Joaquin Vazquez, a fellow Democrat, on his campaign website. Adds a dispatch from Blue America, which runs a liberal political action committee backing Vazquez: “Bernie won the district both times he ran for president.

Joaquin Vazquez wants your vote, not corporate contributions.

The incumbent, Juan Vargas, is a corrupt New Dem with a long, self-serving careerist history, first in the legislature and then in Congress. You might call him business-friendly, but a more accurate term is Vargas-friendly.”

Vazquez has promised not to accept corporate contributions for his effort to dislodge Vargas. “Not taking corporate money may put me at a disadvantage in fundraising, but this is how we will ensure we are only beholden to the people’s actual priorities, not to big business,” says the candidate in a statement cited by Blue America. “It is how we will ensure that families are no longer separated at the border and within our neighborhoods, and get closer to abolishing ICE.”

Unlike incumbent Democrat Sara Jacobs in the 53rd District to the North, who made a similar pledge and then relied on millions of dollars of her Qualcomm-generated family fortune to get into office, Vazquez is from humble roots, and likely won’t be self-funding.

Federal disclosure records show Vargas came up with a total of $622,989 between the first day of 2021 and the end of March, with ending cash on hand of $250,400. Donors included Verizon, AT&T, State Farm Insurance, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

Spending has included $7050 on January 29 of last year for a “vehicle lease signing payment” to San Diego Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and $115605.35 in January to his longtime friend and political guru Larry Remer’s Primacy Group for his annual holiday card. The vehicle might not incur as much mileage in the new district as the old, which saw its labored stretch to the Imperial Valley lopped off by redistricting, while creating a super-wide 36-point voter registration lean to Democrats, per FiveThirtyEight.

By comparison, 49th District Democrat Mike Levin enjoys just a five-point Democratic registration advantage. The margin there is so slim that the Democrats’ House Majority PAC is ramping up to spend millions of dollars on TV spots to save his seat, the New York Times reported March 30. The 50th District of House colleague Scott Peters of La Jolla has a plus-27 point lean and Jacobs’s 51st District favors Dems by plus-22.

Despite the partisan registration odds against him, Republican Tyler Geffeney, an anti-abortion real estate agent from Fallbrook, is also in the Vargas race. “Illegal immigration has developed a cesspool for drug and sex trafficking where countless youth being escorted by coyotes straight into slavery for sex,” says his campaign website. “We need to close off our porous border while making the pathway to legal citizenship achievable.”

Lorena’s choice

Ex-Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez, married to county supervisor Nathan Fletcher, chipped in $8270 on April 11 from her now-unneeded 2022 reelection stash for Assembly hopeful Georgette Gomez’s ongoing election battle with fellow Democrat and ex-city councilmember David Alvarez.

Lorena Gonzalez, out of office but still in power.

Gomez took a tight 38.2 to 37.8 lead over Alvarez in the April 7 balloting to fill the Gonzalez seat, which she vacated in January, necessitating a June 7 runoff...Assembly Republican-turned-Democrat Brian Maienschein has been pulling in 2022 reelection campaign cash from the usual corporate and labor union sources, including the California Federation Of Teachers ($3500, April 11), PriceWaterhouseCooper LLP ($2500, April 8), Gilead Sciences Inc. ($1500, April 8), the California State Pipe Trades Council PAC ($5000, April 5), National Union Of Healthcare Workers Candidate Committee ($4900, April 1), Blue Shield of California ($2000, April 1), and Independent Insurance PAC ($1500, March 31.)

Fellow Assembly Democrats have also been kicking in for the low-raising Maienschein, including $4900 from Marc Berman for Assembly 2022 on April 14. Eloise Reyes For Assembly 2022, Jones-Sawyer for Assembly 2022, and Jim Wood for Assembly 2022 each gave the same on April 5. Then on April 12, he picked up $9800 from Lorena Gonzalez’s 2022 kitty. Meanwhile the California Nurses Association PAC gave $16,200 on March 18 to Shirley Weber’s Secretary of State reelection bid. Weber raked in $16,200 from the California Teachers Assn. for Better Citizenship the previous day and got the same from the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters PAC on March 9.

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Juan Vargas: business-friendly, or Vargas-friendly?
Juan Vargas: business-friendly, or Vargas-friendly?

Juan’s easy path to power

After years of coasting through easy re-election battles, House Democrat Juan Vargas — running in California’s newly redrawn 52nd District and facing a challenger from his party’s left — is unlikely to find much different this campaign season. “Establishment politicians and the rich have reigned over our democracy for too long,” declares Joaquin Vazquez, a fellow Democrat, on his campaign website. Adds a dispatch from Blue America, which runs a liberal political action committee backing Vazquez: “Bernie won the district both times he ran for president.

Joaquin Vazquez wants your vote, not corporate contributions.

The incumbent, Juan Vargas, is a corrupt New Dem with a long, self-serving careerist history, first in the legislature and then in Congress. You might call him business-friendly, but a more accurate term is Vargas-friendly.”

Vazquez has promised not to accept corporate contributions for his effort to dislodge Vargas. “Not taking corporate money may put me at a disadvantage in fundraising, but this is how we will ensure we are only beholden to the people’s actual priorities, not to big business,” says the candidate in a statement cited by Blue America. “It is how we will ensure that families are no longer separated at the border and within our neighborhoods, and get closer to abolishing ICE.”

Unlike incumbent Democrat Sara Jacobs in the 53rd District to the North, who made a similar pledge and then relied on millions of dollars of her Qualcomm-generated family fortune to get into office, Vazquez is from humble roots, and likely won’t be self-funding.

Federal disclosure records show Vargas came up with a total of $622,989 between the first day of 2021 and the end of March, with ending cash on hand of $250,400. Donors included Verizon, AT&T, State Farm Insurance, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

Spending has included $7050 on January 29 of last year for a “vehicle lease signing payment” to San Diego Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and $115605.35 in January to his longtime friend and political guru Larry Remer’s Primacy Group for his annual holiday card. The vehicle might not incur as much mileage in the new district as the old, which saw its labored stretch to the Imperial Valley lopped off by redistricting, while creating a super-wide 36-point voter registration lean to Democrats, per FiveThirtyEight.

By comparison, 49th District Democrat Mike Levin enjoys just a five-point Democratic registration advantage. The margin there is so slim that the Democrats’ House Majority PAC is ramping up to spend millions of dollars on TV spots to save his seat, the New York Times reported March 30. The 50th District of House colleague Scott Peters of La Jolla has a plus-27 point lean and Jacobs’s 51st District favors Dems by plus-22.

Despite the partisan registration odds against him, Republican Tyler Geffeney, an anti-abortion real estate agent from Fallbrook, is also in the Vargas race. “Illegal immigration has developed a cesspool for drug and sex trafficking where countless youth being escorted by coyotes straight into slavery for sex,” says his campaign website. “We need to close off our porous border while making the pathway to legal citizenship achievable.”

Lorena’s choice

Ex-Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez, married to county supervisor Nathan Fletcher, chipped in $8270 on April 11 from her now-unneeded 2022 reelection stash for Assembly hopeful Georgette Gomez’s ongoing election battle with fellow Democrat and ex-city councilmember David Alvarez.

Lorena Gonzalez, out of office but still in power.

Gomez took a tight 38.2 to 37.8 lead over Alvarez in the April 7 balloting to fill the Gonzalez seat, which she vacated in January, necessitating a June 7 runoff...Assembly Republican-turned-Democrat Brian Maienschein has been pulling in 2022 reelection campaign cash from the usual corporate and labor union sources, including the California Federation Of Teachers ($3500, April 11), PriceWaterhouseCooper LLP ($2500, April 8), Gilead Sciences Inc. ($1500, April 8), the California State Pipe Trades Council PAC ($5000, April 5), National Union Of Healthcare Workers Candidate Committee ($4900, April 1), Blue Shield of California ($2000, April 1), and Independent Insurance PAC ($1500, March 31.)

Fellow Assembly Democrats have also been kicking in for the low-raising Maienschein, including $4900 from Marc Berman for Assembly 2022 on April 14. Eloise Reyes For Assembly 2022, Jones-Sawyer for Assembly 2022, and Jim Wood for Assembly 2022 each gave the same on April 5. Then on April 12, he picked up $9800 from Lorena Gonzalez’s 2022 kitty. Meanwhile the California Nurses Association PAC gave $16,200 on March 18 to Shirley Weber’s Secretary of State reelection bid. Weber raked in $16,200 from the California Teachers Assn. for Better Citizenship the previous day and got the same from the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters PAC on March 9.

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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