U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, has drawn two Republican challengers who are newcomers to running for elected office but tout their roles as political outsiders and their fiscal conservatism.
In the California Legislature, State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, is running unopposed in a newly drawn district that now includes Napa County.
In the race for the Assembly seat representing Napa County, incumbent Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, is facing Republican John Munn, a 63-year-old retired soils scientist also from Davis.
Redistricting moved Wolk and Yamada into districts covering Napa County. They’re replacing State Sen. Noreen Evans and Assemblymember Michael Allen, both Democrats from Santa Rosa, whose new districts exclude Napa.
Redistricting moved Thompson, who has served in Congress since 1998, into a district that covers all of Napa County, and sections of Lake, Sonoma, Solano and Contra Costa Counties.
He has drawn two Republican challengers — Rohnert Park resident Stewart Cilley and Napa resident Randy Loftin. Both Cilley, a CPA, and Loftin, an enrolled agent and financial planner, are preaching fiscal discipline, which they feel has been missing in Washington.
The primary in June marks the first time in state history that voters will cast ballots in a “top-two” syle election. This will allow all voters to vote for any candidate in a partisan race, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the general election in November. The presidential and central committee races are exempt from this system.
Neither Cilley nor Loftin has run for elected office before. The California Republican Party announced this week that it was endorsing Loftin.
Loftin, a Vietnam War veteran, said he was motivated to run by what he considers intransigence in Congress on the issue of job creation.
“The big deal is jobs,” Loftin said. “Everything else pales in comparison with getting Americans back to work.”
Loftin acknowledged that it might be difficult unseating Thompson, but he said he will rely on grass-roots campaigning to spread his message.
“It’s a steep mountain to climb, no doubt about it,” Loftin said. “I think that everybody agrees that we have some big problems in Washington. They keep telling us they’re going to solve it but they keep making the mess bigger and bigger.”
Cilley said the passage of the health care act in 2009 motivated him to run. He said he wants to drastically alter the income tax and pushes the idea a national sales tax.
“The income tax needs to be radically changed,” Cilley said. “There’s been a lot of social engineering that’s been going on for decades and decades.
Like Loftin, he plans on running a grass-roots campaign built on the idea that, given the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, a Republican is better suited to provide a voice and an influence in Congress than a Democrat such as Thompson.
Cilley said he wants to broaden the Republican Party base with an all-encompassing call for fiscal conservatism in Congress.
“I want a big tent Republican Party,” Cilley said. “So that we can get that spending under control.”