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George Boardman: Out goes LaMalfa and McClintock, in comes … Kiley?

George Boardman

Nevada County could find itself in the middle of a fast game of musical chairs leading up to the general election in November, thanks to the redistricting of California’s congressional seats and a quirk in the Constitution.

What we do know for sure is that U.S. Reps. Doug LaMalfa and Tom McClintock will no longer represent us next January. Who will replace them? Read on.

LaMalfa’s 1st Congressional District lost Nevada, Sierra and Plumas counties in the redistricting, replacing them with more counties in the Sacramento Valley. Nevada County is now part of District 3, which runs along the state line with Nevada, south through Inyo County. Nevada City, say hello to Independence, Inyo’s county seat.



The new district includes much of the state currently represented by McClintock, leading political pundits to assume he would give up his old 4th District to run in the 3rd.

They were wrong. McClintock has announced plans to run in the new 5th District, which includes parts of Modesto and Fresno, combining parts of districts currently held by him and Rep. Devin Nunes, who announced he is giving up his seat to run former President Donald Trump’s social media venture.



This apparently didn’t take Nunes by surprise. “Tom has been a champion of the conservative movement for many years,” he said. “He’s popular enough to run anywhere in California, but I hope he continues to represent part of the San Joaquin Valley. He has my complete support.”

If you’re wondering why a guy who lives in Elk Grove — his congressman is Ami Bera and he can’t vote for himself — can run for office that far from home, you can thank a quirk in the Constitution, which specifies that you only have to live in the state where you run for the House of Representatives.

This has worked well for McClintock, who has been a professional politician since he was 26 — he’s 65 now. He has been elected to the California Assembly in two different districts, served two terms in the state Senate, and is now seeking to represent his second congressional district. (Nunes was right on when he said McClintock is “popular enough to run anywhere in California.”)

He accomplished this while making unsuccessful runs for Congress (1992), state controller (1994 and 2002), governor in the race to recall Gray Davis (2003) and lieutenant governor (2006). He apparently can’t help himself.

But McClintock has learned how to interpret election results and voter affiliations, and that is probably why he decided to pass on a 3rd District race and jump to the 5th. In the new 5th District, Republicans outnumber Democrats by 11.5%, according to the California Target Book, and backed Trump by 12% in 2020.

The new 3rd District would have given Trump an edge of just 2% in 2020, and seems to get more liberal over time, according to Matt Rexroad, a Republican consultant.

“We’re seeing a lot of people from the Bay Area move up into the areas around Lake Tahoe,” Rexroad told The Sacramento Bee. “They’re changing the politics of Nevada County and some of those other areas.”

In any event, McClintock is unlikely to be missed here. He currently represents the Truckee area in Nevada County, and received less than 25% of their votes last year.

So who is going to seek the 3rd District seat? You can count on Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who declared his candidacy as soon as McClintock’s intentions became known. He apparently will try anything to escape the California Assembly.

This will be his third attempt at higher office since he was elected to the assembly in 2016. First, he lost a special election for the first state Senate seat, then he ran for governor in the recall attempt of Gavin Newsom. Now he wants to build on those defeats and run for Congress.

If he does get elected to Congress, there’s a chance he will settle down and do the job he was elected to perform. The San Francisco Chronicle recently examined the attendance records of state legislators, and found that Kiley is among the leaders where it comes to truancy.

Practically every state legislator had excused absences last year. Kiley was the exception, missing 24 days, eight unexcused. Two missed days included Assembly business and four were during his campaign for governor. He skipped a total of 272 floor and committee votes during the year.

Kiley defended his truancy, saying he takes no per diem so doesn’t have to check in every day, and that most of the votes he missed were resolutions he considers “a waste of time and taxpayer resources.”

So who might oppose Kiley for the seat? Dr. Kermit Jones of Roseville, a former Navy flight surgeon who is also an attorney, has announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination. Omar Navarro, a Republican who has repeatedly run against Rep. Maxine Waters, declared for the 3rd District after declaring for the 5th.

Kiley will probably have other opponents in the Republican primary. How about state Sen. Brian Dahle?

Dahle, who barely held onto Nevada County in the redistricting shuffle, will be termed out in two years, and it appears he will have to wait a while before he can run for LaMalfa’s seat. Why wait, particularly since Dahle was able to beat Kiley in the special election for the Senate seat in 2019? He may not be popular in Nevada County, but he is more popular here than Kiley.

I know, I know: Dahle’s home in Bieber, Lassen County, is a long way from Independence, and he doesn’t even live in the district. But as McClintock has shown, all you have to do these days is buy a carpet bag.

George Boardman lives in Nevada City. His column is published biweekly on Tuesdays by The Union. Write him at boredgeorgeman@gmail.com

Observations from the center stripe: Post mortem edition

PG&E PROMISED to do a better job of communicating during times of disasters. They’ve dealt with enough disasters over the years to have written the manual by now. I guess they never learn…PG&E ADMITS it underestimated the severity of the snowstorm that hit us, thereby delaying their response. These are the same guys who decide when to cut the power during fire season…THE COUNTY seemed to have been surprised as well. Where were the contract workers they normally deploy?…As the sheriff said in a webinar: “We don’t know what we don’t know”…WHY DO some people have to call 1-833-DIAL211 to get 2-1-1 service? The whole point is to make it easy to remember and simple to use, like 9-1-1 and 4-1-1…THERE ARE more than a few people in the county who should embrace the old motto of the Boy Scouts: Be prepared…

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