February 23, 2024
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Anti-Trump surge could change tri-county results


Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Will an anti-Trump backlash affect elections far down the ballot on the Central Coast? Perhaps.

Which is why the billionaire developer’s triumph in the Indiana primary, and the abrupt suspension of campaigns by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, has ripple effects down to county and regional elections.

For one thing, any sort of surge in anti-Trump voters will make it easier for Democratic U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley to hold her now-relatively safe Ventura County congressional district against any challenger. That’s partly because the largely Hispanic neighborhoods of Oxnard that are the swing votes in her district are likely to go heavily her way.

Heading north and west, it may be harder now for GOP candidates Justin Fareed or Katcho Achadjian to take the open 24th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, a Santa Barbara Democrat. That’s partly because a sliver of west Ventura County that’s included in the evenly divided 24th is not likely to go for Trump or any down-ticket GOP candidate.

Establishment Republicans, farmers and soccer moms throughout the 24th aren’t likely to warm up to him either.

In county elections in Santa Barbara, the anti-establishment mood of voters everywhere, including the Tri-Counties, may have a bigger-than-expected impact. One example is Santa Barbara’s First

District supervisor race, where incumbent Salud Carbajal is hoping to replace Capps in Congress. Termed out Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, now faces a spirited challenge from Jennifer Christensen, county investment officer, who is betting her message of change and fiscal accountability will carry the day.

In Santa Barbara County’s third district, Bruce Porter has been making a lot of noise, running on an independent platform that hopes to advance the region’s tech corridor and promises more independence for Isla Vista. If Porter and Christensen prevail, it will be the equivalent of a political earthquake. The county would have its first pro-business majority in decades.

In San Luis Obispo County, the election to replace Achadjian in the Assembly will depend heavily on anti-Trump voters being willing to elect Republican Jordan Cunningham over Democrat Dawn Ortiz-Legg. It’s an uphill battle for her in a district that leans Republican. The results will be a useful yardstick for how much the Trump candidacy impacted the GOP in down-ballot races.

Kudos for coast trail extension

Noreen Martin and Martin Resorts have achieved a major accomplishment with a construction project that will extend and preserve the Pacific Coast Trail along the bluffs of Pismo Beach.

The extension includes a network of trails and suspended walkways as well as costly efforts to halt cliff erosion. It will allow pedestrians, kids and the disabled to have a relatively easy walk along the cliffside, preserve open space and connect disparate neighborhoods in Pismo Beach.

The hotel owner’s efforts, in conjunction with the city of Pismo Beach, the Coastal Commission and its notoriously cranky staff, and others, have given the Central Coast another landmark accomplishment.