Even with modest funding Republican Eric Rigard could affect District 10 Assembly primary race, political careers

The entry of Republican Eric Rigard into the June primary election for the District 10 California Assembly race could significantly alter the dynamics of the closely watched contest.

In 2020 Rigard came in second place in the three-way primary race between Democrats incumbent Jim Cooper and Tracie Stafford. Rigard barely edged out Stafford and faced and lost to Cooper by a wide margin in the November 2020 general election. 

Republican California Assembly candidate Eric Rigard. | 

Although District 10 is viewed as a Democratic stronghold with its new boundaries, a sole Republican candidate could easily siphon votes from the other three Democratic candidates, Eric Guerra, Stephanie Nguyen, and Tecoy Porter. New voter registration data is not yet available, but it is estimated there are 25 to 30 percent in-district Republican registrants. 

If Rigard performs as he did in 2020, he will receive most Republican and some unaffiliated primary voters. That combination placed him in second in 2020, but he lost by a two-to-one margin when facing Cooper in the general election. 

According to his Califonia Form 460 filed with the California Secretary of State, as of the end of 2021, Rigard has $395. During his 2020 campaign, Rigard received $7,316 in contributions, all of which were from individuals. 

Conversely, Guerra has raised hundreds of thousands, and Nguyen is reportedly securing large donations and should build a substantial war chest. Even though Rigard is essentially running a penniless campaign, being the only Republican in the race, he can affect the results and has a respectable chance of finishing in the top two.

Aside from his political affiliation, and unlike his rivals, Rigard brings a cultural issue orientation to his campaign. The Pew Research Center estimates Evangelicals make up 20-percent of adult Californians, only second to Roman Catholics, who make up 28-percent.  

On his campaign Facebook page, Rigard recently posted the following:

Yes I am a Christian and Conservative.
I have a biblical worldview. My political philosophy is to be Conservative, while allowing for investment in our communities that raise the standard of living for all people.
How do these two things coincide?
First of all, I think that we need to treat people with the love and dignity that we would want to be treated with.
Second, I think as we look for more to be done on our behalf we have to recognize there are disparate ethnicities and types of people that we must interact with graciously. In fact that is what makes America the greatest nation in the world. The rich diversity of cultures permeating into an American Culture that is based on a Judeo-Christian ethic. And with that "gumbo" that is America, we must operate in forgiveness, reconciliation and love with all those who we come in contact with.
We can’t expect God to move on our behalf when we are unwilling to forgive those who either have done something wrong against us or who we perceive have done wrong to us.
Thirdly, we must always operate in self-control. Controlling our emotions. Controlling our actions. And controlling the things that we say one to one another.
Fourth, Be kind and gentle to one another. For we don’t know what someone else has had to deal with or gone through in their life. So it is far better that we extend a hand of fellowship and compassion to them and interact with them in kindness and gentleness.
Fifth, We must live faithfully, living a life of faith and trusting in a God who is our Creator being obedient to His words and His laws and instructions. For He and He alone is the final arbiter in the affairs of man and mankind. This creates a life that we can live in joy and in peace.
Sixth, Be patient. God’s timing it’s not always the same as our timing, however, it is always the right timing.
Seventh, Raise and keep a standard. We live in a Christian nation. We are Christians first, we are Conservatives second. As people who honor and believe in God we must hold up a standard of what is right and what is wrong. We must always operate in compassion and take into consideration a person‘s individual situation however, for our society to continue to grow and thrive we must set a respectable standard for all to aspire to and abide by.
Let us live our lives and run this race (against evil) with Integrity, Compassion and Common Sense.

Notwithstanding his meek funding, Rigard has a realistic chance of coming in second place. After that, Rigard can advance to the general election, where his chance of victory drops off. 

Nonetheless, Rigard could be a spoiler and derail the trajectory for Guerra or Nguyen, two rising Sacramento-Elk Grove area Democratic stars.  

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