With Bera's Political Career Presumably Toast, Democrats Likely to Start Jockeying For 2018


May 11, 2016 |

For Democratic Congressman Dr. Ami Bera (D - Elk Grove), 2016 has turned into a political nightmare. Although Bera ran into some early obstacles with endorsements, those were small potatoes compared to yesterday's bombshell from his father Babulal Bera's guilty plea of campaign money laundering. 

Although Federal prosecutors say the Congressman has fully cooperated with their investigation, and there are no indications he had knowledge of the elder Bera's scheme, the political damage is done. Bera's Republican opponent for California's Seventh Congressional District, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, is probably scouting a new desk for his Congressional office while a slew of Captains at the Sheriff's Department is probably jockeying to succeed Jones. 

Barring some miracle, Bera will probably lose his reelection bid if for no other reason that the big money from independent expenditure committees that funded him, as well as his 2014 Republican opponent Doug Ose, will probably slow to a trickle this year. Given how the district is drawn, that money may flow back in 2018 if the Democratic Party can offer a strong candidate to a then Congressman Jones.

So who are some of the Democratic prospects who could be waiting in the wings?

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis - Although he did not stay in the race very long, Davis was for a short time a candidate in 2010 Congressional race against then-incumbent Republican Dan Lungren. Even though Davis dropped out of the primary race after it had become evident Bera had an overwhelming financial advantage, chatter persists that Davis has higher political aspirations. More recently, Davis cleverly did not endorse Bera for his reelection bid. 

Senator Dr. Richard Pan - A first-term California State Senator, Pan has moved up the political ladder quickly rising from the California Assembly after one term. Pan has gained national attention with his child immunization advocacy. In 2018, Pan may view his future political opportunities through the prism of California's legislative term limits.  

Roger Dickinson - Although the former Sacramento County Supervisor and California Assembly Member has not held office since his 2014 loss to Dr. Richard Pan for the California State Senate, Dickinson has stayed active regularly showing up at Democratic Party functions. Dickinson was reportedly asked but declined advances by a progressive faction of Sacramento Democratic party to run against Bera. With no prospect in 2016, Dickinson could have two years to put together an organization to run against Jones in 2018.  

Elk Grove Vice Mayor Steve Ly - Although viewed as a lightweight, Ly has shown an insatiable appetite to move up the political ladder. Following his 2012 landslide victory for the Elk Grove Unified School District, Ly then ran successfully for the Elk Grove City Council in 2014. The first term councilman has quickly demonstrated his fondness of hobnobbing in Washington DC, so what better way to be there than be a Congressman? Furthermore, if Ly fails in the June 2018 primary, he will still have time to run for another term on the Elk Grove City Council. 

Assembly Member Jim Cooper - Perhaps one of the more intriguing prospects would be the former Elk Grove City Council Member and retired Sacramento County Sheriff's Captain. In his first term, Cooper has been tapped for a leadership role in the Assembly and has sponsored several pieces of legislation signed into law. The question for Cooper is 2018 is he willing to forgo eight more years of possible Assembly service to run for undoubtedly another close race. Conversely, how sweet would it be for Cooper to get back at Jones for his 2010 loss to him in the Sacramento County Sheriff's race?

There are several other candidates like Assembly Member Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova or Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, who would have the name recognition and would be strong candidates. Regardless of who it will be, as mentioned earlier, barring some Hail Mary miracle for Bera, you can bet the jockeying has already started.

          





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3 comments

Ace of Spades said...

Okay, using your horse racing theme, here's the Daily Racing Form on each of the horses:

Mayor Gary Davis: Starts out of the gate fast but fades in the end. Hasn't ever completed anything that he has started. Tried to capitalize on his name by starting a coffee business. Enough said.

Richard Pan: Has a nice gallop and gets around pretty good. So good in fact, the Sacramento Bee busted him for not residing in the district he claimed he was from. Does not appear to be a dominant horse.

Roger Dickinson: Will only enter races that have cash payoffs. This horse will not work for free and hangs around the stables so no one forgets him. Might be a bit rusty in the company of younger colts.

Vice Mayor Steve Ly: Might enter the race just to see how far his heritage will carry him. Don't be surprised if he brings his polo equipment to the race and bonk the naysayers over the head with his polo stick!

Jim Cooper: This horse is laughing all the way to the bank. After biding his time keeping the Elk Grove Council chair warm, party loyalty has rewarded him. Look for this horse to lead the charge with big oil and police lobbyists placing big bets on him.

Cali Guy said...

My thoughts are Joel Broussard. This guy is just so intriguing and unique. There is just something about him, you like him after meeting him. He has been called very green by some but he isn't he is polished and won't get backed into a corner or blindsided. I heard him referred to as Obama like and immediately thought hmmm racist comment but then I heard him speak and he is very much like him as far as having a unique influence and favor. Remember you heard it here first Broussard upsets, Davis and Spease in Elk Grove then takes this seat in 2018.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

Having voted for Dr. Bera three times, the news of his fathers conviction is quite disappointing. While I cannot bring myself to vote for Sheriff Jones, I will not vote for Dr. Bera with this cloud hanging over him. It is unfortunate that we will have only two choices in the November election. On a side note, perhaps Dr. Bera's endorsement problems were an early indicator that there was something rotten in Denmark.

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